Indian bluff on NRK
Natives turned out not to be so primitive after all.
In the NRK-series «Den store reisen» (the long journey), a Norwegian family moved in with Waorani-indians in Banemo, Ecuador. The TV-pictures show a people who wear very few clothes and who lives extremely primitively.
«The Waoranies go naked; men’s penises are tied up by a chord around their waists,” is the wording of the state channel’s own description of the program.
What NRK fails to mention, is that they pay the Indians to take off their western clothes during filming, the magazine, Ny Tid (New Times) reports.
Paid for nakedness
”The Waoranies undress for these programs. I know them. They never go around naked in groups anymore, except for tourists or a reality show,” says anthropologist Laura Rival from the Centre for International Development at the University of Oxford. She has studied the Warani-tribe since 1989.
NRK admits that they paid the native people to go around naked:“We ask them not to wear western clothes. The tribes agree to live a more traditional life when we’re filming, but it is up to them what they want to show. It’s important to clarify that this is voluntary cooperation. We pay them for their participation,” says production leader, Per Selstrøm from NRK to Ny Tid.
«The long journey» is a Norwegian version of a reality concept which has also been produced for a number of other countries.
“This is staged,” says Rival when she sees NRK’s group picture of the naked extended family.
According to Rival, the Indians have a habit of playing roles during TV-recordings in the area:
“It can be compared to a job where they put on a uniform and perform for the tourists,” says Rival, who observed the recording of the Belgian version. She also says that the recording takes place in an artificial village, to make it all more authentic.
“There were too many modern elements that disturbed things in the village where they really live,” says Rival to Ny Tid.
Wants to portray the differences
NRK has not problem admitting that parts of the series have been staged:“We are not pretending this is a “fly on the wall” documentary. The program-category is a type of staged documentary to display the differences and to make it more thought-provoking. It is after all a collision between two very different ways of life,” says Selstrøm. He doesn’t accept however that the tribe is portrayed as more primitive than they really are.
The premiere of «Den store reisen» last Saturday had over 800,000 viewers.