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Secrets of the Tribe (2010)

The field of anthropology goes under the magnifying glass in this fiery investigation of the seminal research on Yanomami Indians. In the 1960s and '70s, a steady stream of anthropologists ... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Robert Borofsky ...
Jesus Cardozo ...
Napoleon A. Chagnon ...
Marie Isabel Eguillor ...
Brian Ferguson ...
Kenneth Good ...
Paul R. Gross ...
Raymond Hames ...
William Irons ...
Barbara Johnston ...
Ernesto Migliazza ...
Marie-Claude Mueller ...
Frank Salamone ...
Leslie Sponsel ...
Patrick Tierney ...


The field of anthropology goes under the magnifying glass in this fiery investigation of the seminal research on Yanomami Indians. In the 1960s and '70s, a steady stream of anthropologists filed into the Amazon Basin to observe this "virgin" society untouched by modern life. Thirty years later, the events surrounding this infiltration have become a scandalous tale of academic ethics and infighting. Written by Sundance Film Festival

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Tribal Warfare in the Academic Jungle






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Release Date:

22 January 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Segredos da Tribo  »

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User Reviews

A Tribe on the verge of extinction thanks to Anthropology
26 April 2015 | by (United States, Budapest, etc.) – See all my reviews

SECRETS OF THE TRIBE" compiled and directed by Brazilian filmmaker José Padilha, viewed at the Los Angeles Film Festival, LAFF, 2010

A very thought-provoking documentary focusing on the interference of academic anthropologists in the life of an extremely primitive tribe in the Amazon jungle, the Yanomami, in ways that has threatened the very survival of these people. It is also about the squabbles, scandals, and venomous back-biting among these so-called social scientists, arguing over the authenticity of their "findings", with some soul-searching thrown in regarding the irreparable damage that has been inflicted on the people they are theoretically investigating in the name of "the advancement of science". One French anthropologist, a gay disciple of the famous French anthropological theoretician, Levi Strauss, spent 25 years among the Yanomami, apparently teaching the young boys of the tribe the fine points of European pedophilia. An American scholar went down to the Amazon and came back with a Yanomami wife with whom he has fathered three children who can't count past two — the highest number in the Yanomami language. However he was black-balled from the academic community and couldn't find a teaching job. (You ain't supposed to marry these people –you're just supposed to write papers about them…) — Made me shudder since I was once an "anthro" major myself! should be Required viewing for students of genocide.

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