Indigenous Cultures, Digital Tribes and Bananas in Space



It is for us as mankind to walk over the rainbow, carrying in our hands the eternal flames of peace, love and hope.


Called Tribal People, First People, Native People or Indigenous People. There are approximately 370 million Indigenous people in the world, belonging to 5,000 different groups, in 90 countries worldwide. Indigenous people live in every region of the world, whereas about 70% of them live in Asia.

Indigenous People usually have (or had) their own language. Today, Indigenous people speak some 4,000 languages. They have distinctive cultural traditions that are still practiced. They have (or had) their own land and territory, to which they are tied in myriad ways. They self-identify as Indigenous. Examples of Indigenous People include the Australian Aborigines, Southeast Asian Hill tribes, Inuit of the Arctic, Native Americans, hunter-gatherers in the Amazon, traditional pastoralists like the Maasai in East Africa, and tribal people in the Philippines.

Many of those are being lost quite peacefully, as their people assimilate and become part of modern society, wearing T-shirts and using mobile phones.


Image: This woman was one of the last remaining members of an indigenous tribe in Taiwan that practiced facial tattoos. Original photo by Aaron Hosé.

Founded by Tony Coolidge, the ATAYAL Organization is committed to promoting and preseving indigenous cultures by building bridges, or cooperation opportunities, that connect indigenous communities around the world.


There are many reasons that cause cultural extinction. The main reason is cultural globalization. Cultural globalization is defined as the transmission of cultural ideas, values, and meaning across borders. Cultural globalization also includes media, technology, entertainment and economic institutions.

Some of the most well-known aspects of American culture that can now be found all over the world are fast food chains, Hollywood movies, and social media outlets, and all of these influence younger generations. The new culture is seen cooler and better than traditional cultures, and many young members so of minority cultures leave their culture traditions behind to join the mainstream and globalized culture. The cultural invasion does harm the preservation of traditional cultures.

mc donald and chinese temple

Image: In a globalized world, the responsibility for feeding the people has shifted, from a family structure (a cooking mother) to the fast food chain stores. McDonald’s Golden Arches right in front of a Traditional Chinese Building.


Language extinction is accelerating today for some of the same reasons as species extinction. It seems as if the whole world needs to speak English.

By allowing languages to die out, the human race is destroying things it doesn’t understand; think of the Bible and the many interpretations it withholds in the native Hebrew language. Languages have the power to shape our thoughts, habits, lifestyle and destiny.

Some cultures and language loss, like species loss, is natural and predictable. No culture exists forever. Just as plants and animals have appeared and disappeared over the millennia, cultures and their languages evolve, grow, and spread, and eventually dwindle and die.

An example of a resuscitated language is Modern Hebrew. Hebrew survived for centuries as a religious and scholarly language. In the late nineteenth century, a movement led by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda reintroduced Hebrew into Palestine as a spoken language. After the founding of Israel, Hebrew was taught in the schools and is now the common language of Israeli citizens.

Language is fundamental to cultural identity. For example, most people from China speak Mandarin Chinese, but Chinese people from different regions of China speak their own dialects. Therefore, it is important for people from different regions and countries, not just indigenous cultures, to protect their language and make sure that it is alive.



Modern technological culture will continue to spread, and many other cultures appear to embrace it willingly. Since early times there were many improvements in human culture from the primitive to the modern: human rights, empiricism, increased wealth and health, international law, etc. The ‘New Tribes’, nations, religions, institutions and other new digital communities in which we are part of, create and shape our human nature.

Though Indigenous cultures, their languages and traditions are disappearing from the planet at an alarming rate, new tribes are forming, these are the Digital Tribes.

Each tribe and its new stories to tell…

Stories have been with us ever since we learnt to gather around fire, look at the starry skies up and question our place on this planet, of this universe – where I come from, who am I, how it all started? And… what is next?

Modem fire camps are online-platforms (such as Facebook groups, Flickr or Tumblr) which each tribe gathers around, and it is for us to decide what type of stories we wish to be told – stories of respect, love and hope or stories of war, power and control. There is one very real reason why we should start listening to the stories we are told – one reason that takes us to the very essence for who we are:

Thoughts Create Reality

Global Digital Tribes have influenced the way languages, organizations and cultures work. They have redefined old concepts with the help of social media and they are already changing the way people interact with each other. The Internet is eliminating borders and racism. People join tribes or clans because they find and share the same ideas and interests with other people. Digital Tribes are self-sustaining and can survive without a leader, they are not necessarily dialogue based and they are long lasting. These Digital Tribes hold a great impact on the future of our society. Digital tribes such as TEDx and many others are not about being associated in both geography and genealogy but about the New Mindset. They are about sharing ideas and bringing experiences to people in grand, awe-inspiring and joyful ways that lift the human spirit, address social problems and inspire a sense of culture, community and personal engagement.


Image: TEDx – Where Ideas Become Reality.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.


Image: Burning Man. Once a year, tens of thousands of people gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. In this crucible of creativity, all are welcome.


Bananas are one of the most sellable items in convenient stores (e.g. 7/11) and department stores (e.g. WalMart). Bananas have been with us ever since, and it is the only fruit that a man can live on all his life eating nothing but bananas, seems we need take nothing with us to space but… bananas.

What? Bananas in Space???


Culture is inextricably linked to environment. The Changpa of Tibet are not a part of the same environment as the Aztecs. Therefore, their cultures were/are quite different. Adaptations to various environments allowed us to survive and the preservation of cultural diversity will allow us to continue and survive as we set on new journeys.

There is a direct link between the rate indigenous cultures extinct and our chances for survival as a species. Diversity is a key for survival; therefore it is for us to preserve cultural diversity by establishing programs, such as festivals and Ethno-tourism, in place to help preserve cultural traditions. On the same note, there is much knowledge we must preserve as we set on a new journey exploring new frontiers in Outer Space, and it is not just about botanical knowledge.


Image: A species that inhabit more than one planet has better chances for survival. A scene from the 2009 film Avatar.



I like to see a multi-cultural society whereas minorities keep their cultural integrity, and minor languages continue to exist alongside larger ones. It is for us to envision such a future that respects and honors Indigenous People inherent rights and dynamic cultures, deeply and richly interwoven in lands, languages, spiritual traditions, and artistic expression, rooted in self-determination and self-governance.

A good place to start that journey across the rainbow is empathy and the ability to relate to those who are very different from yourself. This has to be meaningful and with the purpose of discovering the essence of the Self.

health-care aboriginal

Image: Indigenous People constitute about 5% of the world’s population, yet account for about 15% of the world’s poor. Type 2 diabetes rates are four times higher in Indigenous compared to non-Indigenous people.


QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER (Please leave your reply in the comments below)

  • Can we find ways that all people can be part of the modernized world without having to give up and neglect their ethnicity?
  • What if more nations, governments, corporates and Digital Tribes have placed programs with the goal to preserve and protect indigenous cultures?
  • What role does the UN play in preserving endangered cultures? 

With playful regards,