Indigenous Community

Smart Planet recently interviewed 34-year-old British investigative journalist Olly Steeds.. here is an excerpt from it:
You’ve spent a lot of time living with tribes, including one that practices cannibalism. What have you learned?

Where do you start? On a personal level—its’ so easy to take things for granted in our world—to complain about this and that. The indigenous people have no place for moaning and complaining; they just get on with it. They have an incredible generosity of spirit, which makes sense in that world–you have to be kind to your neighbor in case you ever need him. So it’s the kindness, generosity, hospitality, the need to look after your neighbor, the notions of community–it’s easier to see in their world because in some capacity they have a simpler life, compared to our modern world and the great sort of complexity we like to surround ourselves with.
Hmmm.. that makes me think about about the difference between my life in the heated and air-conditioned suburbs (where nobody really has to go outside and run into their neighbors) and the lives that these folks are living. Seems like America used to be like that.. before we had air conditioning my New York family used to spend summers outside having picnics and barbecues.. seems like we really knew our neighbors. But I am not so sure it was the same kind of community as the ones that Olly Steeds encounters in indigenous settings where people seem to really need each other.

Did you grow up in a community where you knew your neighbors? How about now?


  1. I grew up in the suburbs and walked to school and played in my yard and the neighbors kids' yards too. My parents knew quite a few neighbors but we didn't do much socializing with them. We passed a lot of pleasantries. Most of the social times were with our church, which we had to drive to. Early childhood was in a predominatly Catholic city and we were one of the few protestants around.
    You are so right about the way we live now. Automatic garage door openers mean we don't even have to get out of our car for anything.
    You always make me think with your posts Bob. thanks.

  2. Bob what a good post! I grew up in a small rural town in Northern CA, Turlock by name. We knew all our neighbors..some are lifelong friends. I babysat all the neighbor kids for a chance to watch TV (we didn't have a set).
    Today, I know most of my neighbors, as I take cookies around while walking Molly. I still don't know some, as they don't want to be known. But I think most people want to be neighborly~

  3. These noble natives are so generous, they eat their neighbors. That's a bunch or rubbish. They have a sin nature like the rest of us. Simply removing modern conveniences doesn't suddenly make you holy as this journalist is implying. this is a tactic of the religion of the earth as a way of saying, "if we only removed your tv, car, and AC, you will be closer to your mother nature."


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