In the past, the United States was a country of edgeless borders. Thousands struggled to make a new life on ‘the frontier’, wherever that was and whatever it meant. We fell in love with the romance of the cowboy. We dreamed of riches and desolation in the Yukon. Our hearts followed the young men still challenging the wilderness of the deserts, the high places, and the swamps. As we ran out of space to explore in our own country, many of us longed for something we thought we’d lost – an innocence of the uncivilized world, or a fierce Mother Nature to pit our strength and determination against.
However, all has not been lost. There are still some few remaining tribes in odd little corners of the world, in the mountain places or the rainforest of Brazil and Peru, that have little to no contact with the outside world. I say ‘little to no’ because I feel some contact is evident in our observation and tracking of these tribes. If we are flying above them in small planes and taking pictures, that’s contact 9especially when they respond by drawing bows). True, there are efforts to protect these tribes and their traditional land areas from deforestation and illegal logging, and efforts to prevent direct contact that might spread disease. But even with the awareness and indirect observation of these groups, we are having an effect on them which we cannot predict or change.
I am not saying such tracking is wrong. I just can’t help but wonder if our best intentions will be realized, or if we will lose once and for all the the wilderness we at one time dreamed of by caring for the last dwellers in those remote places. I wonder if we can help but change things, as teh toolmakers and dreamers we are.