How long had the Tasaday been out of contact when Elizalde contacted
them? Could it be they were pretending to be Tasaday? A number of
hypotheses seek to explain Tasaday history.
- Remnant Stone Age Peoples -
When this band of 26 people was discovered in 1971, the Tasaday were a unique
find and some wondered it they might have existed out of contact with
contemporary cultures for a thousand or more years.
- Hoax -
From 1973 to 1986 there was little contact
the Tasaday. In 1986, the Marcos regime fell
contact was made by outside news organizations. Some called the Tasaday
a hoax. Principle among these was ABC
20/20 in an August 1986 segment entitled "The Tribe that Never Was." For
an alternative view on this hypothesis see The Friends of the Tasaday web
site and click on A Hoax?
- Cultural Loss -
Review of research in the early 1970s and restudy after 1986 suggested
the Tasaday might have experienced cultural loss as a
result of contact
with colonizing cultures.
- Cultural Isolation -
Were the Tasaday isolated from
surrounding peoples and how long? How
isolation be explained?
One explanation is to look at the isolation of peoples along the
southern Washington, Oregon, and Northern California coasts. Features
of the landscape kept these groups quite isolated as reflected in the
numerous language differences.
- Other? -
What else might explain the Tasaday situation? The more that is
learned the more complex the explanations become.
|Photo of Bilangan and Itut with three of their five
children, August 1972, by John Nance, with permission.|
If the Tasaday are what anthropologists call a "band" society, how should
their characteristics differ from people who are part of a "state"
| cultural trait || band || state |
| values || one with nature || can improve upon
| subsistence || foragers || irrigated
| division of labor || less
specialized || highly specialized |
| permanency || nomadic || permanent
| social network || familistic || many non-family
| class status || egalitarian || stratified
| community || small || large |
| leadership || achieved || bureaucracy,
leadership positions are ascribed |
| decision making || consensus || elites |
People who have not visited the Tasaday, with the exception of Oswalt
Iten, predominate in calling them a hoax.
|John Nance ||yes|
|Carol Molony ||yes|
|Douglas Yen ||yes|
|Oswalt Iten ||yes|
|Zeus Salazar ||no|
|Gerald Berreman ||no|
|Pascal Lays ||yes|
Questions of Tasaday Facts
To Tasaday Topics
- -How unique is their language & how long were they
- - What is the evidence for Tasaday history?
- - What were Elizalde's motives and role?
- - Why did President Marcos declare a reserve?
- - How close are the Tasaday to agricultural
& how plausibile is no contact?
- - What is the meaning and orgin of the owner of the forest
- - Are the tools too simple for "Cave People"?
- - Did they really not hunt?
- - What was their diet?
- - Why was the use of forest resources so limited?
- - What about their dress & why so many changes?
- - Would the debris in front of the caves answer any longevity
- Social Networks
- - How isolated were they and for how long?
- - How could 26 people survive having contact with only
two other like sized groups?
Updated:Tuesday, 19-Feb-2013 20:55:21 PST
Court Smith, Oregon