Item Details

At the Edge of Conquest: The Journey of Chief Wai-Wai

produced by Geoffrey O'Connor
Format
Video; Computer Resource; Online Video; Online
Summary
At the Edge of Conquest looks at the situation of the Waiapi Indians, a small, isolated tribe that came in contact with the outside world in the late 1970 s. Today they are threatened by invading gold miners, by the Brazilian government s recent proposal to reduce their land by 10%, and the state government s plan to construct a highway directly through their territory. But their strategy for survival has been effective: defend their lands from invasions while their leaders navigate the tricky waters of Brazilian politics. The film focuses on the charismatic leader, Chief Wai-Wai, as he travels from his remote village to Brazil s capitol, encountering for the first time airplanes, elevators, and skyscrapers. But the real barriers are not physical but bureaucratic and cultural. He doesn't read or write, has never been at a meeting before, and doesn't speak the language of these foreign people. Unlike the traditional depictions of indigenous persons as pristine, removed from the forces of the outside world, At the Edge of Conquest reveals a society grappling with the "real politique" of a larger nation-state. Chief Wai-Wai is fighting the role of victim in a desperate effort to shape the destiny of his people. It is a voyage resembling a cross between Alice in Wonderland and a Kafkaesque nightmare. But it is one which ultimately all isolated indigenous societies are forced to make if they are to survive this rapidly changing world.
Release Date
1992
Run Time
30 min.
Language
English
Rating
For High School; College; Adult audiences
Series
Filmakers Library Online
Published
New York, NY : Filmakers Library, 1992.
Access Restriction
Access restricted to subscribers.
Description
1 online resource (30 min.)
Technical Details

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    a| At the Edge of Conquest looks at the situation of the Waiapi Indians, a small, isolated tribe that came in contact with the outside world in the late 1970 s. Today they are threatened by invading gold miners, by the Brazilian government s recent proposal to reduce their land by 10%, and the state government s plan to construct a highway directly through their territory. But their strategy for survival has been effective: defend their lands from invasions while their leaders navigate the tricky waters of Brazilian politics. The film focuses on the charismatic leader, Chief Wai-Wai, as he travels from his remote village to Brazil s capitol, encountering for the first time airplanes, elevators, and skyscrapers. But the real barriers are not physical but bureaucratic and cultural. He doesn't read or write, has never been at a meeting before, and doesn't speak the language of these foreign people. Unlike the traditional depictions of indigenous persons as pristine, removed from the forces of the outside world, At the Edge of Conquest reveals a society grappling with the "real politique" of a larger nation-state. Chief Wai-Wai is fighting the role of victim in a desperate effort to shape the destiny of his people. It is a voyage resembling a cross between Alice in Wonderland and a Kafkaesque nightmare. But it is one which ultimately all isolated indigenous societies are forced to make if they are to survive this rapidly changing world.
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