In May 2008, striking photos and accompanying stories of an Amazonian “Lost Tribe” found their way into an array of international news sources. However, some of these organizations soon dismissed the notion of a tribe unknown to civilization as a hoax. The photographer’s explanation that he had sought to protest illegal logging makes it easy to write off the story as one more cautionary tale. However, it is also possible to see the case as proof of the ongoing power of long-existing metaphors. These metaphors and their competing uses in environmental issues are the focus of this talk.
Candace Slater is Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at UC Berkeley. She has written extensively about Brazilian popular traditions and about the literary aspects of environmental themes.