Marubo isolated indigenous tribe after 9 months with Internet

The Marubo, an isolated indigenous tribe in the Amazon, gained access to high-speed internet through Elon Musk's Starlink service, drastically changing their traditional way of life. While the Internet has brought significant benefits, such as improved communication and emergency response, it has also brought challenges such as social media addiction, exposure to inappropriate content, and cultural erosion.

The New York Times they mention:
amazon tribe
After just nine months with Starlink, the Marubos are already grappling with the same challenges that have plagued American households for years: teenagers glued to their phones. group chats full of gossip. addictive social networks. online strangers, violent video games, scams, misinformation and minors watching porn. Modern society has been dealing with these issues for decades as the Internet continues its relentless course. So the Marubo and other indigenous tribes, who have resisted modernity for generations, now face the potential and danger of the Internet simultaneously, while debating what it will mean for their identity and culture.

The Internet “changed the routine so much that it became detrimental,” admitted a Marubo leader, Enoque Marubo.

"In the village, if you don't hunt, fish and plant, you don't eat". Leaders realized that boundaries were needed. The internet would only be open for two hours in the morning, five hours in the evening and all day on Sunday. During these gaps, many Marubos are bent over or lying in hammocks on their phones. They spend a lot of time on WhatsApp. There, leaders coordinate among villages and alert authorities to health and environmental disasters.

Marubo teachers share lessons with their students in different villages. And everyone is in much closer contact with distant relatives and friends.

For Enoque, the biggest benefit is in emergency situations. A venomous snake bite may require rapid rescue by helicopter. Before the Internet, the Marubo used amateur radio, broadcasting a message between several villages to reach the authorities. The internet made these calls instantaneous. "It has already saved lives," he said.

In April, seven months after Starlink arrived, more than 200 Marubo gathered in one village. Enoque brought a projector to show a video about the Starlink transport to the villages. As proceedings began, some leaders in the back of the audience took the floor and indicated that the internet should be shut down for the meetings.

"I don't want people posting on the groups, taking my words out of context," they said.

During the meetings, the teenagers posted on Kwai, a Chinese-owned social network. Young people watched videos of Brazilian soccer star Neymar Jr. and two 15-year-old girls said they chatted with strangers on Instagram.

One said she now dreamed of traveling the world, while the other wants to become a dentist in Sao Paulo. This new window to the outside world has left many in the tribe feeling torn.

"Some young people are preserving our traditions," said TamaSay Marubo, 42, the tribe's first female chief. "Others just want to spend the whole afternoon on their phones."

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Written by giorgos

George still wonders what he's doing here ...

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