Hoax in the Jungle?

May 26, 2011

I’m short on sleep this week, having stayed up late-late-late several nights in a row, turning the pages.  I finished reading Invented Eden: The Elusive, Disputed History of the Tasaday by Robin Hemley last night and wanted to write a wonderfully objective and thoughtful post about the Tasaday, but what could I possibly say?  If you are at all interested in the topic, the book is a must-read, in which case anything I would say in this rinky-dink blog post is old hat.

I feel hesitation about revealing the twists and turns Hemley took in arriving at his conclusions about the Tasaday, only because I don’t want to rob potential readers of the rollercoaster ride that Invented Eden has in store for them.  The short of it is that the author began as a Tasaday skeptic, but his adventuresome investigation and research brought him to a new point of view.  Everything about the Tasaday is a point of view.

This NOVA “The Lost Tribe” documentary (this is the first of six parts on youtube) from 1993 does a decent job of summarizing the Tasaday controversy.

Invented Eden was published ten years later in 2003 and sheds much more light on the nuances of the controversy, with a turning-point climax involving a deceptive interview, translated through four languages, surrounded by gun-toting men in the jungle.  Just as riveting as any fiction spy novel.

In retrospect, I think the natives in the Fire in the Jungle setting were influenced by my awareness of the Tasaday…small bands of elusive primitives in the jungle.  Except I don’t think the Tasaday ever mastered the art of Beast Riding.  Imagine how cool would it have been if Belayem had first greeted Elizalde by flying down on the back of a giant cynocephalus volans!

4 Responses to “Hoax in the Jungle?”

  1. […] Here is the last Special Discovery to be detailed:  Native Kingdom.  The legend of Prester John or stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs seem like obvious inspirations for creating a Native Kingdom rules supplement, but I decided to take inspiration from something that I had been researching lately:  the Tasaday controversy. […]

  2. […] “Tasaday”.  Of course, Future Hunters doesn’t present them as anything like the “real Tasaday” but rather as tough mutha jungle amazons.  Not wimps like in Warriors of the Apocalypse, the […]

  3. […] on Mindanao.  I’m 99% certain that’s completely false, based on what I know about Mindanao and the Tasaday.  Also, there is conflicting info about where Last Cannibal World was filmed.  I’m […]

  4. […] Two good links found in that article.  One is to a site full of pictures, videos, and articles about uncontacted tribes:  www.uncontactedtribes.org.  Study and protection of these kinds of tribes has come a long way since the Tasaday debacle. […]

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