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Marubo tribe in Amazon gains internet access

Marubo tribe in Amazon gains internet access

Amazon Internet

The remote Marubo tribe in the Amazon rainforest has recently been connected to the internet through Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite service. The introduction of high-speed internet has brought both opportunities and challenges to the 2,000-member tribe. Starlink, which was introduced to Brazil in 2022, has been rapidly expanding across the Amazon region.

By September, the Marubo tribe began logging on, marking a significant change for a community that has long preserved its way of life through isolation. The internet connection has already proven to be life-saving, enabling quicker communication with authorities during emergencies. It has also allowed the Marubo to access educational resources, connect with other Amazonian tribes, and communicate with family members living abroad.

However, the introduction of the internet has also brought unintended consequences. Elders in the tribe have observed significant changes among the youth, with some neglecting traditional practices in favor of spending long hours on their phones. Tsainama Marubo, a 73-year-old elder, expressed his concerns, saying, “When it arrived, everyone was happy.

Starlink changes Marubo tribe dynamics

But now, things have gotten worse. Young people have gotten lazy because of the internet; they’re learning the ways of the white people.”

The tribe, known for its chaste customs, now faces challenges brought by unfettered internet access.

There has been a rise in aggressive sexual behavior among young men exposed to pornographic content online. Alfredo Marubo, another elder, noted, “We’re worried young people are going to want to try the kinky sex acts they’ve been exposed to on screen. Everyone is so connected that sometimes they don’t even talk to their own family.”

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To manage these issues, Marubo leaders have set limits on internet access, allowing two hours each morning, five hours each evening, and all day on Sundays.

They are concerned that their culture and history, which have been orally passed down through generations, may be at risk. Some officials in Brazil have criticized the initiative, suggesting that unique cultures and customs could be irrevocably altered. However, Flora Dutra, a Brazilian activist who helped connect the Marubo to the internet, believes these fears are overstated.

Dutra asserts that most tribespeople “wanted and deserved” access to the World Wide Web, although she acknowledges the challenges posed by digital scams and strangers on social media. The introduction of the internet to the Marubo tribe highlights the complex nature of modern technology, which offers both unprecedented opportunities and significant challenges for remote communities.

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