BBC & Travel Channel show ‘staged, false, fabricated and distorted’
A TV series about an Amazonian tribe has been slammed as ‘staged, false, fabricated and distorted’ by experts on the tribe.
‘Mark & Olly: Living with the Machigenga’ was shown on the Travel Channel in the US, and on the BBC last year. In the show Mark Anstice and Olly Steeds lived in a Matsigenka Indian village for several months to show the ‘reality’ of life among the tribe.
But now two experts on the tribe have gone public with a string of highly damaging accusations. Dr. Glenn Shepard is an anthropologist who has worked with the Matsigenka Indians for 25 years and speaks their language fluently. Ron Snell, the son of US missionaries, grew up with the tribe and and is also fluent in the Matsigenkas’ tongue.
Just some of Shepard’s accusations, published in the highly-respected journal Anthropology News, are:
• In order to present a ‘false and insulting’ portrayal of the tribe as sex-obsessed, mean and savage, many of the translations of what the Indians are saying are fabricated.
• Many events presented as real in the show must have been ‘staged’.
• A key scene in the show in which Olly is subjected to painful ant stings, since “according to Matsigenka tradition he must be cleansed” and “endure the ancient punishments” for buying deer meat is denounced by Shepard as ‘fabricated and [with] no basis in ethnography.’
Ron Snell, in an article on his blog, accused the film-makers of ‘paying the Machiguengas to perform for them, saying things the Machiguengas wouldn’t ordinarily say and doing things the Machiguengas wouldn’t normally do.’
After interviewing two of the Indians in the series, Snell reported, ‘Our suspicions were correct. They [Mark and Olly] entered the village on a well traveled path and only veered a few feet off the path to film themselves ‘hacking their way through the jungle.’ They contracted someone to make new cushmas [cotton tunics] so everyone would be wearing one. They staged the whole drama about one of the guys being accepted and the other treated as a lazy outsider…
‘The translator quickly became disillusioned with the whole thing, but kept going because of the money. He is ashamed and embarrassed that he had anything to do with it.’
The series was previously at the centre of a media storm when a scouting expedition for the show was accused in Peru of provoking a flu epidemic among isolated Indians which caused the deaths of four of them. The show was eventually filmed a short distance from this incident.
Cicada, the production company responsible for the series, has made no comment on the accusations.
Stephen Corry, Director of Survival, said, ‘‘Mark & Olly: Living with the Machigenga’ was a depressing example of the way tribal people are routinely portrayed on TV. One stereotype followed another, with the Matsigenka variously portrayed as callous, perverted, cruel, and savage. Is this what the film crew really thought of those whose guests they were? Broadcasters wouldn’t dare to make similarly false claims about other such minority groups: imagine the same descriptions applied to any ethnic minority in the industrialized world. Sadly this is all too common – TV is now getting away with portrayals which wouldn’t be out of place in the Victorian era.’
In response to a worrying trend to portray tribal peoples in a negative manner, Survival is drawing up a code of practice for documentary makers to follow when filming with them.
A background briefing with further examples of mistranslations and inaccuracies in the show is available to download here.
Note to Editors:
1. The tribe’s name is today usually spelt Matsigenka. Previously, Machiguenga was more common. Machigenga, as used in the Mark and Olly TV show, is incorrect.
2. Dr. Glenn Shepard is an ethnobotanist and medical anthropologist who specializes in the indigenous peoples of the Amazon. He has published more than 50 scientific papers and is currently a researcher in Indigenous Ethnology at the Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi in Belém, Brazil.
3. Ron Snell grew up with the Matsigenka, where his parents were missionaries. He is the author of several books about his childhood there, and still visits the area regularly. He is now the director of a homeless people’s shelter in Nebraska, USA. His mother, who has also watched the series and corroborates the accusations, is the author of a 900-page Matsigenka dictionary.
4. A longer version of Dr. Shepard’s article can be found on his blog: ethnoground.blogspot.com
- ‘Noble Savages': Chagnon’s new book triggers resignation and protests (alethonews.wordpress.com)
4 Comments »
or go to
From the Archives
By Richard L. Fricker | Consortium News | July 11, 2013
Long before Edward Snowden’s claims or revelations that the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency were monitoring and tracking the Internet, cell phones, e-mails and any other electronic communication they could get their hands on using a program known as PRISM, there existed PROMIS [Prosecutors Management Information Systems].
PROMIS was designed in the late 1970s and ‘80s to bring Department of Justice criminal case management from the dark ages into the light of the computer age. In the spring of 1981, the Reagan Administration hailed PROMIS as one of law enforcements greatest assets. By 1983, PROMIS had morphed into the behemoth of intelligence gathering. It was not state of the art – it was the art.
Over the ensuing decades PROMIS is reported to have been used by the DOJ, CIA, NSA, and several foreign intelligence agencies including Israel’s Mossad. The ownership of PROMIS has been the subject of federal court hearings and a congressional investigation. … continue
Aletho News Exclusive Content
This article will examine some of the connections between the US and UK National Security apparatus and the appearance of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory beginning after the accident at Three Mile Island. … continue
Also by Aletho News:
September 19, 2011
March 8, 2011
January 2, 2011
October 10, 2010
July 5, 2010
February 25, 2010
February 7, 2010
January 5, 2010
December 26, 2009
December 19, 2009
December 4, 2009
May 9, 2009
- Israeli settlers sabotage the olive harvest in Awarta September 23, 2014
- Two Palestinians shot dead by Israeli forces lead to clashes with over 30 injured September 23, 2014
- Action alert: Arrested on the way to school in Bil’in September 23, 2014
- Protest against forced eviction pushes Israeli forces from the area September 22, 2014
- The Israeli offensive on Gaza caused full or partial damages to 75 kindergartens and day-care centers September 21, 2014
- Ukraine Truce or Trojan Horse: Retreat, Re-Armament and Relaunch September 12, 2014
Looking for something?
TagsAfghanistan Africa al-Akhbar Al-Manar American Civil Liberties Union American Israel Public Affairs Committee Argentina Bashar al-Assad Benjamin Netanyahu Brazil Britain Canada Central Intelligence Agency China CIA Colombia East Jerusalem Egypt European Union FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation France Fukushima Gaza Germany Gilad Atzmon Hamas Hebron Hezbollah Honduras Hugo Chávez Human rights India Intelligence International Atomic Energy Agency International Middle East Media Center International Solidarity Movement Internet Iran Iraq Iraq War Israel Israeli settlement Japan Jerusalem John Kerry Latin America Lebanon Libya Ma'an Middle East National Security Agency NATO New York Times NSA Obama Pakistan Palestine Palestinian prisoners in Israel Police Press TV Russia Sanctions against Iran Saudi Arabia South America Syria Turkey UK Ukraine United Nations United States USA Venezuela West Bank Zionism
Visits Since December 2009
- 1,874,510 hits
Contact:atheonews (at) gmail.com
- Government Placing Itself at Top of New Air Travel Caste System September 23, 2014
- Israel imposes restrictions around al-Aqsa ahead of Jewish holidays September 23, 2014
- Did Israel help US by downing Syrian jet? September 23, 2014
- Syria slams Israel support for ISIL September 23, 2014
- Syrian FM: US Informed Syria of Strikes against ISIL September 23, 2014
- PRISM’s Controversial Forerunner September 22, 2014
- Prosecutions for Environmental Crimes Decline under Obama September 22, 2014
- ‘Anti-nuclear’ Obama plans to spend $1 trillion on nukes September 22, 2014
- Israelis frightened of a newborn’s name September 22, 2014
- Israeli occupation authorities demolish Muslim tombs in occupied Jerusalem September 22, 2014
- UN plan to ensure reconstruction materials not diverted to Hamas September 22, 2014
- R.I.P. Jacob David George September 22, 2014
- Vietnam: My orange pain September 21, 2014
- Congress Votes for More War in the Middle East September 21, 2014
- The Israeli offensive on Gaza caused full or partial damages to 75 kindergartens and day-care centers September 21, 2014
- Israeli forces detain 11 Palestinians overnight, 152 last week September 21, 2014
- Palestinian school set on fire September 21, 2014
- US not interested in ending terrorism: Ken O’Keefe September 21, 2014
Categories"Hope and Change" Aletho News Civil Liberties Corruption Deception Economics Environmentalism Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism False Flag Terrorism Full Spectrum Dominance Illegal Occupation Islamophobia Mainstream Media, Warmongering Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity Militarism Nuclear Power Science and Pseudo-Science Solidarity and Activism Subjugation - Torture Supremacism, Social Darwinism Timeless or most popular Video War Crimes Wars for Israel
This site is provided as a research and reference tool. Although we make every reasonable effort to ensure that the information and data provided at this site are useful, accurate, and current, we cannot guarantee that the information and data provided here will be error-free. By using this site, you assume all responsibility for and risk arising from your use of and reliance upon the contents of this site.
This site and the information available through it do not, and are not intended to constitute legal advice. Should you require legal advice, you should consult your own attorney.
Nothing within this site or linked to by this site constitutes investment advice or medical advice.
Materials accessible from or added to this site by third parties, such as comments posted, are strictly the responsibility of the third party who added such materials or made them accessible and we neither endorse nor undertake to control, monitor, edit or assume responsibility for any such third-party material.
The posting of stories, commentaries, reports, documents and links (embedded or otherwise) on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such posted material or parts therein.
The word "alleged" is deemed to occur before the word "fraud." Since the rule of law still applies. To peasants, at least.
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more info go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
This is information for anyone that wishes to challenge our “fair use” of copyrighted material.
If you are a legal copyright holder or a designated agent for such and you believe that content residing on or accessible through our website infringes a copyright and falls outside the boundaries of “Fair Use”, please send a notice of infringement by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will respond and take necessary action immediately.
If notice is given of an alleged copyright violation we will act expeditiously to remove or disable access to the material(s) in question.
All 3rd party material posted on this website is copyright the respective owners / authors. Aletho News makes no claim of copyright on such material.