Thursday, February 10, 2011

Uncontacted Tribes: Fixing Misconceptions and How You Can Help

Members of the “uncontacted” Amazon tribe in western Brazil near the Peruvian border.

Also a little delayed is showing you this piece about an uncontacted tribe in Brazil. New pictures have been released that were taken to reaffirm that the tribe exists and is in fact threatened by extensive logging and oil exploration. I forget where I read about it first, but the article included a link to this Q&A about uncontacted tribes. Not only is this page incredibly helpful in understanding what it means to be an "uncontacted", "undiscovered", or "lost" tribe, but I feel the questions and answers are applicable to debunking the stereotypes and misconceptions we have about all indigenous, non-Western peoples, both past and present. Of course there is no such thing as a "lost" tribe; everyone has neighbors. Of course they have not been living exactly the same way for centuries; all human beings and living social organisms evolve and change. I highly recommend bookmarking this Q&A for the future and even sharing it with people you share things with. Additionally, the page provides a number of opportunities for being involved in the protection of uncontacted Indians of Peru, including writing a letter to the Peruvian government, contacting your local Peruvian embassy, or writing to your Senators and members of Congress.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Denver Museum Recognizes American Indian Artists

This is ever so slightly delayed, but last week the New York Times featured this article about how the Denver Art Museum is embracing a new movement to attribute American Indian works to individual artists, as opposed to treating them as ethnographic artifacts. Not only is this incredibly exciting because it's another step up in validating the work of American Indians as art, but it may be an opportunity for YOU if you play your cards right. The article mentions that a big obstacle in getting works attributed is the typical lack of time/money/people, which to my mind spells i-n-t-e-r-n-s-h-i-p. You can find the application process here. Although it looks like they post internship openings by department, it never hurts to send a resume and cover letter anyway explaining why you're interested and that you would like to help. Sometimes, being consistent and aggressive about your excitement and qualifications is more likely to get you a position than following the rules everyone else follows. Being a little plucky helps you stand out from the crowd and demonstrates a go-getter attitude that every supervisor wants on their team.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Say Yes to Egypt's Heritage

Let's make it viral, people. Join the official SAFE Cause on facebook to help preserve and safeguard the cultural heritage of Egypt.

Links for keeping up with Egypt's current cultural heritage diasters

With all the conflicting articles and blog posts about the protests and destruction in Egypt, it's been hard to keep track of what exactly has happened and what the level of damage is (especially when you're a super busy student). Here are some articles, blog posts, and websites that have been helpful to me these past few days, particularly when I haven't had much time to read the news.

Egyptology News has updates almost hourly on the damage done to museums, artifacts, and sites.

Ancient Egypt Online has some really helpful visuals (maps and photos) of what they know so far about the damage.

Zahi Hawass's website has issued two updates about the looting and destruction of Egyptian museums and archaeological sites.

Larry Rothfield responded to Zahi Hawass, pointing out what was not explicitly stated by Hawass and condemning Hawass's failure to secure the Egyptian Museum and all the significant sites that were left unguarded.

Ricardo St. Hillaire has proposed an Emergency Protection for Egyptian Cultural Antiquities Act, urging the U.S. government to stop stolen and looted Egyptian cultural material from crossing the border.

Derek Fincham has some wise things to say about the current situation, as well as numerous links and great summaries of what's known so far.

Paul Barford has been blogging nonstop about the situation and has posted many links and helpful commentary on what is ultimately a mess of conflicting and discouraging reports.

The Eloquent Peasant has a great number of photos and videos about what's been going on.