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Interactive video lesson plan for: Should We Contact Uncontacted Peoples?

Activity overview:

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Credits (and Twitter handles):
Script Writer: Alex Reich (@alexhreich)
Script Editor: Henry Reich (@MinutePhysics)
Video Illustrator: Omkar Bhagat (@TheCuriousEnggr)
Video Director: Emily Elert (@eelert)
Video Narrator: Emily Elert (@eelert)
With Contributions From: Kate Yoshida, Ever Salazar, Peter Reich, Rachel Becker, David Goldenberg
Music by: Nathaniel Schroeder:

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If you liked this week’s video, we think you might also like these things:

Rohrlich, J. (2015). Should Society Start Contacting the Amazon's Uncontacted Tribes?. VICE News.

Kluger, J. (2015). Is It Ethical to Leave Uncontacted Tribes Alone? Time Magazine.

Survival International Q+A about “Uncontacted Tribes”:

Glob, A. 2008. Are there ‘uncontacted tribes’? The short answer: No. Savage Minds Blog.

FYI: We try to leave jargon out of our videos, but if you want to learn more about this topic, here are some handy keywords to get your googling started:

- isolated peoples: peoples living without significant contact with global civilization, either by choice or circumstance
- uncontacted peoples: another term for isolated peoples, even though most isolated peoples have actually been in some form of contact with global civilization
- forest peoples: indigenous peoples who live in and depend on forests for their livelihoods
- first contact: the first meeting of two cultures previously unaware of one another
- controlled contact: a planned, organized first contact involving health care professionals and cultural translators
- no-contact approach: a policy to leave isolated peoples alone
- Prime Directive: a Star Trek guiding principle prohibiting Starfleet personnel from interfering with the internal development of alien civilizations
- self-determination: the right of a people to freely choose their political, economic, social, and cultural systems without interference
- autonomy: the right or condition of self-government and expression of aspirations free from external control or influence


Feather, C. (2015). Isolated tribes: Contact misguided. Science (New York, NY), 349(6250), 798-798.

Lawler, A. (2015). Making contact. Science, 348(6239), 1072-1079.

Pringle, H. (2015). In peril. Science, 348(6239), 1080-1085.

Walker, R. S., & Hill, K. R. (2015). Protecting isolated tribes. Science,348(6239), 1061-1061.

Walker, R. S., & Hill, K. R. (2016). Personal communication.

News Article about the Science magazine feature:

Articles about recent Brazil & Peru First Contacts:

Fraser, B. (2014). Controversial Peru gas project expansion gets go-ahead. Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Fraser, B. (2015). Isolated tribespeople receiving care after violent contact in Brazil. Science Magazine News.

Hill, D. (2014). Gas firm to move deeper into reserve for indigenous people in Peru. The Guardian.

Nuwer, R. (2014). Anthropology: The sad truth about uncontacted tribes. BBC Future.

Pringle, H. (2014). Uncontacted tribe in Brazil emerges from isolation. Science, 345(6193), 125-126.

Pringle. H. (2014). Video of tribe's first contact shows both tension and friendly overtures. Science Magazine News.

Tharoor, I. (2015). Do the world’s ‘uncontacted’ tribes deserve to be left alone? Washington Post.

Tagged under: MinuteEarth,Minute Earth,MinutePhysics,Minute Physics,earth,history,science,environment,environmental science,earth science

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