We dream about meeting up with Martians. Meanwhile, some of our close cousins have met up with Martians who were simply… us!
CORRECTION: Sorry to disappoint my readers! This charming video is in fact a fake, which has nothing to do with Papua New Guinea. The white man you see in the video is a Belgian moviemaker, Jean-Pierre Dutilleux. The "Papua New Guinea natives" were in fact members of the Toulambi tribe of indigenous Amazonian "Indians" (what a silly word for people in South America). This fake "first encounter" between the natives and a white-skinned visitor was filmed around 1999. Before then, these excellent actors had played similar fake roles for at least three ethnologists: Jadran Mimica (in 1979), Pierre Lemonnier (in 1985) and Pascale Bonnemère (in 1987). Maybe, with the help of an imaginative film director such as Baz Luhrmann, this document might inspire acting careers among my Aboriginal cousins down in Australia. The only sad thing about this otherwise joyous document is that the Toulambis lived in a malaria-stricken zone of the Amazon jungle, and that Jean-Pierre Dutilleux might have been acting in a more humane fashion if he had paid his actors (most of whom have since died) with massive supplies of quinine tablets.
SECOND CORRECTION [Saturday, June 25, 2011] : I must apologize for an error in my interpretation of the French-language source of this story. The Toulambi tribe does in fact inhabit Papua New Guinea (not the Amazon, as I wrongly stated). But this error has no bearing on the fact that anthropologists have been shocked by this video, in which the Toulambis appear to be acting. I have heard, too, that they were in fact supplied with certain pharmaceutical products in payment for their acting. I should add that most of the individuals participating directly in the controversy stirred up in France by this video are anthropologists, with in-depth knowledge of Papua New Guinea, its peoples and its problems. As for me, I am not an anthropologist and I have never visited Papua New Guinea. So, I do not intend to pursue the question of this controversial video any further.