We are not alone. It is not an allusion to the presence of other living beings in our galaxy like in a science fiction film. Nor is it a catchphrase made to comfort us that other people suffer just like us. It is a matter of fact that affects us closely and that many of us ignore. We are not alone on this planet. While we lead our life made of wealth and technology, there are people living in a completely different reality.
Indigenous peoples do not belong to the past. They are part of our own age, immeasurably enriching human diversity. They are the best guardians of the natural world and they have such a knowledge and an understanding of it that far exceeds ours. They are self-sufficient and represent the living example of a sustainable life, in direct contact with nature, in the middle of the 21st century.
Let’s try to get to know them a little better and let’s find out what are the most remote indigenous tribes.
Huli, in Papua New Guinea
They are also called “wig-men” because of a tradition of theirs that require them to wear a wig. This is made of hair, flowers and bird of paradise feathers. They are small in stature, but muscular. They paint their faces to make brightly colored masks. They wear a kilt made with leaves and they were necklaces and bracelets made of plants, shells, flowers and feathers. The boys leave their mom’s house to go live with their father and help them with hunting and work. Women raise children, sew clothes and take care of pigs, their main farm animal and trading unit.
Dogon, in West Africa
They inhabit several villages in Mali, right off the rock formations of Bandiagara. They live in mud buildings with thatched roofs positioned at a height up to 200 meters. Tradition has it that they came to Mali about 600 years ago and they hid on the rocks to protect themselves from the tribes that inhabited the region. Their economy is based on agriculture, livestock, hunting, crafts and small trade exchanges with neighboring peoples. They retain a religion based on a complex cosmogony. It is also for this reason that they have an incredible knowledge in the astronomical field.
Nenets, in Siberia
They live in one of the most inhospitable areas on the planet, in the Yamal Peninsula, where temperatures reach -50°. They are nomadic populations and they are divided into Nenets of the Tundra and Nenets of the Forest. The former are reindeer herders, the latter live on hunting and fishing. Each year they travel about 1,200 km. As temperatures get colder, they take the reindeer further south and then return north in the summer. Unfortunately, their lifestyle is threatened by climate change, which leads to the death of thousands of reindeer, that cannot find food due to the too much rain.
Himba, in Namibia
They are a people of nomadic shepherds, spread throughout Kaokoland. Despite the “development” of the country they still retain a traditional lifestyle. Women cover their bodies with a red paste of butter, ochre and herbs that serves both to protect them from the sun and enhance their beauty. They wear little clothing and go bare breasted. They are the ones who do the hardest work. They milk the animals, build houses and carry water, as well as looking after their children. They always keep a fire lit to pay homage to the god Mukuru.
Kozaks, in Mongolia
They are also known as Kazak Eagle Hunters. They are in fact excellent trainers of this bird, used to hunt foxes, marmots and wolves. It is an ancient Mongolian tradition dating back to 940 AD. Boys start hunting around 13, when they can handle the weight of an eagle. From the captured prey they obtain furs which they wear with pride.