Preserving Tribal Cultures-By Jean-Pierre Dutilleaux

For the past 25 years I have traveled all over the globe to meet the last few tribes that are still living on the fringe of the modern world. This long ‘tribal journey’ has taken me to some of the most remote places on Earth. It is there of course that are found the last strongholds of the real first world, the world of the origins, the last survivors of our distant past.

With my ethnographic films I try to capture part of their lifestyle and traditions before they are too altered, which inevitably happens when these people come in contact with the modern world.  Therefore, I never want to be the first one to make contact with them. It is always better to leave these people alone. Once they are contacted by outsiders, the world as they know it begins to collapse.

At that point, I believe it is important to record their way of life, not only for the memory of mankind but for the people themselves.  Most don’t have a written language and these films, a few decades from now, may be the only testimony of their past, of their life as it used to be.  My films merely attempt to open a small window to these cultures.

Most of these tribes live in endangered environments. They are the guardians of some of the planets last unspoiled and unpolluted territories.  Against all odds, these living witnesses of our prehistory have managed to survive across the ages. If it weren’t for their resilience, we wouldn’t be here today. Unfortunately, at the dawn of the third millennium, they are all threatened.

On my site, priority is given to pictures, while texts and legends are kept to a minimum. The selected photographs are highlights of the 16 tribes that most moved me.

My wish is that the images will encourage the viewer to find out more about indigenous people and to support their struggle to survive in a world that they generally find incomprehensible and insane. Increasingly, the survival of these people and of their environment is tied to our own survival.

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