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Internet divides remote Marubo tribe deeply

Internet divides remote Marubo tribe deeply

Remote Divide

A remote tribe in the Amazon, the Marubo, was connected to the internet nearly a year ago courtesy of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite network. The 2,000-person tribe, which has long inhabited the area around the Ituí River in Brazil, initially celebrated the arrival of the internet. When it arrived, everyone was happy,” said tribe member Tsainama Marubo.

The internet allowed them to connect with distant loved ones and made it easier to call for help in emergencies. However, this initial euphoria soon gave way to serious concerns. “But now, things have gotten worse.

Young people have gotten lazy because of the internet, they’re learning the ways of the white people,” Tsainama added. These “ways” include not only social media addiction, with many tribe members constantly using Facebook and Instagram, but also exposure to mature content. This is significant for a tribe known for its chaste customs, including abstaining from kissing in public.

Internet alters Marubo tribe’s traditions

Some young men in the tribe have exhibited more aggressive sexual behavior following their discovery of pornographic content. “We’re worried young people are going to want to try it,” stated Alfredo Marubo, leader of a Marubo association of villages.

He also noted that excessive connectivity has led to a decrease in face-to-face communication within families. “Everyone is so connected that sometimes they don’t even talk to their own family,” Alfredo said. The tribe’s leaders have taken steps to address these issues, limiting internet access to certain hours of the day.

However, many parents remain concerned about the long-term impacts on their children, who may lack the digital literacy to navigate the internet safely. Despite differing opinions on the matter, most tribe members agree that the internet is likely here to stay. “The leaders have been clear,” said one tribesman.

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“We can’t live without the internet.”

As the Marubo tribe continues to grapple with the challenges and opportunities presented by their newfound connectivity, their experience serves as a microcosm of the complex effects of technology on traditional societies around the world.

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