Remote Surveillance May Increase Chance of Survival For “Un-contacted” Brazilian Tribes

In Lowland South America, some of the last indigenous societies that have limited contact with the outside world continue to exist. By studying these tribes, anthropologists are able to get an understanding of how these cultures operated before the arrival of Europeans. By using remote surveillance, they are able to track these indigenous societies and may offer information for their long term survival. Currently, they are studying a tribe of about 40 people on the border between Brazil and Peru. Rob Walker, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the College of Arts and Science at MU used Google Earth satellite imagery to estimate the size of the fields and tribes.

By using satellite imagery, and therefore technology in general, anthropologists are able to begin to understand the policies that create threats to the tribes, as well as the environment; they are also able to watch the tribe’s habits, such as migration patterns, and determine where boundaries need to be created to enable isolation for these tribes.

Technology is an important tool for anthropologists to employ, and the anthropologists of our generation are among the first to use technology. It has allowed us to experience and study more in depth other cultures, and has also allowed us to help preserve the last indigenous cultures known.