Indigenous Voices: Glimpses into the Margins of Modern Development
Indigenous Voices will take you somewhere rarely seen by the public eye, into the mountains of northern Thailand.
There, communities of indigenous peoples have for generations been living fairly traditional lives even in the wake of an encroaching modern world culture. However, their traditional cultures are literally vanishing as modernity is shifting centuries of learning and indigenous knowledge aside.
We, step-by-step, learn about some of the effects that modern economic development has had on these communities, and we hear what some of these villagers have to say about this. We explore what this may mean for all of us humans.
To better understand northern Thailand’s indigenous peoples and their overall situation, this book entails the seamlessly paired integration of documentary-style photography, prose, and in-depth interviews — “voices” of villagers 14-84 years old, from three different ethnicities, and from villages existing at different points on a development continuum. They open up the doors of their homes and help us understand.
Indigenous Voices is not merely a book of photography. This book encompasses five years of the author’s field research. It is intended as a textbook of sorts for those who are interested in gaining foundational understandings into the societal effects of globalization. This thesis is engineered as a part-by-part experiential learning model. Each included community is undergoing a particular stage in the development continuum, and each part of this book will bring you to a new level of understanding into development related issues.
In addition to providing the general public with a window into the seldom seen world of mountain village life, this culture preservation project additionally explores economic development related effects on human society overall and how environment related changes alter relationships among ourselves and our natural environment.
Are you ready for this journey?
The above is a 35-spread cross-section view of the 300-page Indigenous Voices book.
(Use the button located on the lower-left corner of the control panel to view in full-screen mode.)
Click HERE to view an additional cross-section view, including photographs and “voices”
included in the 300-page Indigenous Voices book.
A Global Issue
The economic market related decisions that humans have been making for generations are rendering, like never before, very tangible effects on our reality in terms of our natural environment and our overall societal functioning — some for the worse; some for the better. I believe that we are at a pivotal point in our history.
If we are going to find creative solutions to global challenges, then I am suggesting that we focus on the root of prominent issues issues, such as those of poverty, environmental degradation, and aggressive social division. I believe that these phenomena exist largely because we humans generally have unplugged ourselves from nature, arguably since the Agricultural Revolution and the onset of surplus driven competitive market systems that continue to dictate our existence.
What’s resultantly transpiring socially in “developing” parts of the world, and particularly to indigenous, more traditional, communities has long since happened in First World countries. It’s perhaps prudent that we humans really take a moment to reflect: What is happening on Planet Earth regarding the supposed progress of the human species?
Let’s take a closer look, at ourselves.
This Indigenous Voices book (and the Indigenous World Voices: A Moment’s Pause multimedia project) is about tending to the world that we all as a global community share.
During a global era of increasing political tension and societal unrest, this grassroots Project reminds us about our natural roots and about peace in social unity.
This is about momentarily slowing down from our seemingly incessant state of being “busy.” It’s about introspectively thinking before we entirely destroy our life-sustaining planet (and each other), and about meditating on the natural goodness that remains.
We are all indigenous to Planet Earth. Let’s take a moment’s pause then and tune into our more primal, indigenous, nature.
There are socially binding commonalities that all humans share. These are our core needs to be loved and accepted, to be accepting and loving, as well as our necessity for having a nourishing natural environment that includes familial and community connection.
Can we, if even for a short time, contemplate in these regards the importance of our varying cultures and the intrinsic value of our heritages? How about the significance of and capacity for our inclination to live in harmonious community with one another — perhaps (once again) regulated by our natural environment?
Can we observe and listen to the ‘voices’ of people from an age range and from different ethnicities comprised of those who still represent ways of life, and harness vitally essential indigenous knowledge about these aspects, inherent and fundamental to all of us?
We can accomplish this by using seamlessly paired documentary photography, video, and in-depth interview conversations. We could then use this as a central focus point — a campfire of sorts — for conversations about topical global issues that are effecting Us all.
For with each older generation that the modern world is losing — their ‘traditional’ knowledge with them, amidst our supposed capitalist ‘development progress’ and a resulting homogenizing world culture — it is as though monumental segments of an ancient societal iceberg are sliding into the sea.
Join with us in observing and preserving our natural roots.