Meet The Natives: England and USA

Meet The Natives: England and USA

Society  -  Playlist 71 Comments
7.68
12345678910
Ratings: 7.68/10 from 22 users.

Meet The Natives - England and USAIntriguing documentary that turns traditional anthropology on its head. Five tribesmen from a remote South Pacific island travel 10,000 miles to observe the natives of a strange and exotic land - Britain and USA.

Armed with video cameras and warm clothes, five South Pacific islanders travel around the UK recording their experiences of living with representatives of the three 'tribes' of Britain: the Working Class, the Middle Class, and the Upper Class.

From KFC bargain buckets to karaoke, housework to fox-hunting, and dog parlours to stately homes, the five ambassadors immerse themselves in modern British culture, making profound and moving observations along the way.

What natives say: "People from England and USA come here and see about us. But what if we go to them and live in their tribes and learn their customs?"

In the past 100 years the British monarchy has lost a lot of its shine. However, in a tiny corner of the South Pacific, one royal is worshipped. A far cry from Britain's most controversial prince...

The locals of Tanna eagerly await the return of Prince Philip, who they believe is an ancestral spirit who emerged from a volcano to marry the queen. "According to a prophecy, the spirit who became Prince Philip is due to return".

In anticipation, his 89th birthday saw the island irrupt in celebration, and although the 'second coming' never happened the villagers spirits aren't dampened. "One day his spirit will come and rest here".

More great documentaries

guest

71 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
TedQ
TedQ
2 years ago

Using that stupid voice for the narrator is the rankest racism!

Mk
Mk
3 years ago

Proper loved how the ranchers were blindsided by how much they genuinely connected and were disarmed by sincere charm,beautiful to see!!!!

Liz
Liz
8 years ago

Tanna, Charming people and great bums. Loved the working class English family. The husband had prepared by learning the language and the only English man who undressed to dance in their tradition. Kudos to you and your wonderful family. You entered into the sociological, anthropological test with full commitment and honesty. The Tanna men's reaction to homelessness was inspiring. The English pamper their animals but in a land rich with so much wealth, why are some people hungry and homeless - animals are more important than humans. Predictably, the interview with Prince Phillip was not filmed. Personally, I think that would have been a real sociological, anthropological curiosity given his lack of social graces. However, it was interesting watching the way the Tanna men were being "indoctrinated" about the "rituals" English class style about eating "properly" and the very wooden antics of the English upper class. I am guessing that they had to be prompted, from their wooden lives, to get up and join in the dance.

Campbell Lewis
Campbell Lewis
11 years ago

Sorry to burst people's bubble, but Tanna isn't quite as isolated as they seem in these shows. They are very much on the tourism map nowadays; they have the world's most accessible active volcano on Tanna, and they now have lodgings and 4wd tours to take you there.
The local govt is run in conjunction with the chiefs of villages, so they do retain some of their local 'kastom'. But they had already become more aware of Western civilisations and the cash incentives it brings. 2 Survivor series (an Australian and a US) were filmed in Vanuatu, about 4 islands further North from Tanna (roughly a 40min flight). The Vanuatu tourism board began pushing itself as early as 2002 - the England documentary here is from 2007. By this time, Australians (if not many other white-man folks) would have been strolling through their village 3 times weekly on organised tours.
Just look up google images, Albi is in about 3 or 4 pictures. He was also looking after Karl Pilkington in a later British (Sky TV) show which visited Vanuatu/Tanna.
These people stick mostly with their traditional beliefs, but they have very much merged with the realities of the modern world. There is internet on Tanna now, and I am sure they will be amongst the first to know when the Duke of Edinburgh ceases to be.

Adam Neira
Adam Neira
11 years ago

Moshe Silman dies after self-immolation at Israeli protest (Haaretz)

Connection and Community

Prayers for Moshe Silman. When despair leads to desperation terrible things can happen. It is not that difficult to fall between the gaps and get lost in many "civilised" societies. A good nation will provide a decent safety net, and on this front the State of Israel does not do too badly, but connections of community, friends and family are vital to physical, emotional and spiritual health.

A BBC documentary shown a few years ago depicted some South Pacific people from an island near Papua New Guinea who were transported to the streets of London. They had real trouble understanding the homeless people's plight that they witnessed in the street. On their island a person who had suffered a fall was always helped in some way.

Robert Whaley
Robert Whaley
12 years ago

'Western culture "full of so many useless things" What a great observation and so true. We westerners may be forced to simplify things in the near future, like it or not. And that probably isn't such a bad thing.

Robert Whaley
Robert Whaley
12 years ago

That's a classic look on Jobu's face when the one guy says "if you see any nice girls, don't touch them" LOL hehehe

panthera f
panthera f
12 years ago

Lovely people. ?

Good thing there is no oil.

john kay
john kay
12 years ago

Definetly a doc every "civilized" person on earth should watch.

Righteous people and culture...too bad no one offered them the respect, truth and insight they deserve regarding wars vs peace and our warmonging ways . Also, that prince phillip is not a son of god hahaha.

I believe their message of a worldwide harmony, unity and peace may be very unattainable of a goal.

Perhaps, people should start with caring, sharing, love, manners, respect and truthfulness, any good things that make you feel happy inside your heart and soul... as small achieveable stepping stones towards that larger goal.

,

michael mccrory
michael mccrory
12 years ago

genuine love and authentic kindness networked throughout a community can exist. it only takes everyone coming together and that generally involves requiring a leader; then power, an agenda and/or greed (sometimes blackmail) get in the way once they see the sway they hold.

but all religiousness aside, if you'll look at the community described at the end of Acts chapter two starting around verse forty four it says, "and all the believers were together, and had all things common. And they sold possessions and goods, and distributed them to all, according as anyone had need. And continuing steadfastly with one mind day by day in the Temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they shared food in gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people." That sounds just like those villages taking care of everyone whenever, like building a house for someone and not making a big deal about it. Or all the tribes coming together at the meeting place under the massive tree to discuss, make decisions, have ceremonies, dance and just be together.

I'm not sure if it is actually possible to achieve this level of oneness across the nation because of the fact we circulate worthless pieces of paper, and those richest, and others completely sold out to the system, are not easily relinquishing control. (for one small example: why do you think oil tycoons are suppressing the electric car with such fervor?) Because we are the slaves of the system called modern civilization. The act of working or the notion of working is very valuable. And while the result of this modern civilization has done many things in the way of making life easier and more convenient, and raising the all-around quality of life, for those who can maintain a "job"(maybe don't ask the homeless or recently laid-off) it has made us helpless and dependent on those who own or control the major lifelines like water, electricity/power, food and machines of all kinds. Who are these men and women really? Not 'what are their jobs?',(i certainly know they don't "work" in the sense that those in the system must "work") but who are they as people? Not in a judging way, but more in the way as if your children will be around them and you'd just like a little background info. And i'm not talking about a P.R. statement. When money or material accumulation is the end goal of an individual, then there is not much any one can do for him/her, aside from persuasion.

We all talk a big game but do we take deliberate actions to bring about a result?

Pure and undefiled religion before God is this: to visit orphans and widows in their afflictions, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

Peace love unity harmony sound very good, but unless any measures are taken amongst the individual first, it will not be able to be contagious among the populations. If you do not exhibit that which you speak, of what appeal is your message?
i want to live on Tanna.

Brian
Brian
12 years ago

I hope we didnt send them back with small pox.

AlekNovy
AlekNovy
12 years ago

By far the best thing I've watched in my life, and I've watched a TON of stuff.

It was a masterpiece in so many ways (both the USA and UK parts).

I was smiling, laughing, cheering... It was just... amazing.

Tara Foster
Tara Foster
13 years ago

FANTASTIC! LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS!

NatalieUkr
NatalieUkr
13 years ago

AWESOME doc!

SK
SK
13 years ago

really good doc. Specially to tell all that how artificially and fake life now a days people live.You don't need many things to be happy.its just amazing. specially when they raise the question to so called modern and developed society tht why the people are homeless?? just becoz they dont parents to take care or wht??
didnt watch the whole series yet.......cant wait to finish all

smugg
smugg
13 years ago

wow, it's so refreshing to see these people having fun with things we take for granted or boring.

Fiona
Fiona
13 years ago

LOVED this documentary! Their warmth just puts a smile on my face! I would love to live like them...

Does anyone know where I could watch the rest of the USA episodes?

menelik1&2
menelik1&2
13 years ago

prince philip god?very odd...if they only knew

wq
wq
13 years ago

I noticed that throughout the documentary, the men of Tana kept saying that on their island, people live in harmony. And yet based on their expectations and comments, there is strict gender roles and great inequity between the genders. And so i wonder...if the ambassadors from Tana had included women, would the comments be the same? Perhaps female ambassadors from Tana would express great envy at the women of the west for our independence.

Chances are, females from Tana would go home feeling a great sense of loss since they have to return to their 2nd class citizen position.

wq
wq
13 years ago

LOL as an american, I feel bad that these visitors to the west are fed english food LOL LOL

At least give them something GOOD, like westernized chinese food.

steak and kidney pie.....ew LOL LOL

wq
wq
13 years ago

Fascinating!

I would have been even better if they had 3 females and 3 males in the group instead of a group of 5 males. It would have shed even more insight.

zx81
zx81
13 years ago

whole lot gong on there. but somehow i was most struck by the fact that they only ever included reaction shots after untranslated speech. Maybe it was edited that way, but it just looked like a bunch of i@#$%^ nodding to gibberish they couldn't possibly have understood.

Eve
Eve
13 years ago

trying to wrap my head around the balls it took for those guys to make such a journey. Damn they handled themselves and schooled some of me.
What human beings, uplifting program.

smugg
smugg
13 years ago

i m 100% positive somewhere in the world someone is worshiping ME.

Dodgy
Dodgy
13 years ago

Wading thru the docs around I was really down about the flavor that most docs are in. Another conspiracy theory, another unanswered question with 40m of time just to get to no point. It was rattling me because I kept searching for one with happiness instead of doom, gloom, and worry sprinkled in. Well, here it is! Those without money living happy lives. It was fun to see how they viewed outside countries because I too look at other cultures or else I would be here. If only their women weren't second class I might actually want to visit. That tho is true of most cultures pre "civilzation" - women are not worthy of making decisions and are just maids and toys for the bedroom to breed babies.

khai
khai
13 years ago

What a wonderful documentary. Just loved it! it changed the way i think...

Lori George Alexander
Lori George Alexander
13 years ago

I really enjoyed the documentary. I thought the men from Tanna were enchanting and wonderful as well as insightful about many aspects of British life. There were some errors in my viewing and I was not able to see the entire series although I am going to try and come back. I think I saw most of it. I think I enjoyed most that many of the people were real on the film. It is anthropology in the making.

Irene
Irene
13 years ago

Very refreshing documentary. Thanks Vlatko. The people seemed realy authentic when they were surprised and showed lack of understanding concerning things and situation that we take as normal (like artificial insemination or homeless people) The tribe life sounds idilic but I only wonder how it would be to be a woman in that tribe... may be it is great that men take all the decisions and so on... but it is just a thought...

WR
WR
13 years ago

@dano I can't see any 'MR' here so I guess you mean me. Yeah sorry, that's basically what I meant here. By getting a full view of technological society, they're probably going to be far less likely to aspire to it, because they get to see all these downsides. Everything being about money and 'stuff', to the expense of all these things they value, like community, time, traditional spirituality and connection to the land and its life - and of course, happiness. They seem to keep their view that it is they who are rich, and not the rest of us.

By the way although I'm not American or British, I am Australian, which in the scheme of things is basically the same thing. I have travelled through Europe (Western and Eastern), to the US, Mexico, the Pacific Islands, and much of Asia (I spent a year there recently), so I know the rest of world isn't just like where I live. I've also been to Africa too, with my parents (who've travelled more than I have), though I was too young to remember it.

I'm also half-Finnish, and I speak the Finnish language, which is unlike almost any other language from that part of the world (which are basically all Indo-European), so offering a somewhat different model of the world from most other Western languages. I'm not saying that it has anything in common with that of traditional Pacific islanders, but I'm aware that there are other ways of looking at reality.

Although I can't say I've spent time with people living quite as traditionally as this tribe, I have lived with subsistence farmers off the electricity grid (in Laos and Indonesia), and I know their approach to life is different. And I've seen how the effect of the introduction of television in particular to such communities changes things dramatically - ie the projection of a false fantasy into the minds of people, the time it consumes, and the cultural damage it brings.

I guess what I find especially interesting is that the first piece of modern technology the Tannans are taught to use is the video camera - the means of creating television for others (and themselves), so that they can tell their own stories to the world instead of the other way round. And I'd say they will be much wiser whenever they do have contact with the world of broadcast media.

dano
dano
13 years ago

@MR actuallly, that's the point. They are more happy without any technological development and that's part of the show. That's something I just can't support, that you americans, and you UKs, think that the whole world is like you. I have lived in Asia, Africa, Europe, US, Canada, SouthAmerica and Mexico, and believe me... WE ARE DIFFERENTT!!!@! so... that's part of the charming of the natives... that THEY DON'T KNOW ANY TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT!!!!

WR
WR
13 years ago

BTW the word that was blanked out in my post above was st up id. I understand not wishing to have abusive words in the posts here, but that level of automatic censorship a little extreme. And it makes that sentence look very weird. I just wanted to say that the tribesmen are intelligent guys. :)

WR
WR
13 years ago

I'm not sure about that Karen. My feeling is that these adventures where they bear witness to the full force of Western technological life may well have a much more positive effect on the tribe than having it leech in bit by bit as it has with indigenous tribes the world over. These guys aren't stupid, by any means. They know what they like and what they don't like when they see it, and by actually visiting the UK and US, they don't get an edited and sanitised version of what the West is like as they would once they're exposed to TV.

Karen
Karen
13 years ago

Ignorance is bliss. Even with 3 simple rules of protection; stay together, don't take anything, and don't touch anyone. Undoubtedly, the travelers will be changed for ever. If these tours continue our ideas and attitudes will haunt them like a bad nightmare and indeed will cause personal conflicts. The whole society will become self-conscious. Education applied cautiously.

bobby
bobby
13 years ago

middle class my ass

Imightberiding
Imightberiding
13 years ago

@Sam

Well said. I thought that there was a hint of undeserved pride or accomplishment on the parts of the middle class artist woman & upper class Sir. What I mean to say is that it almost seemed as though they were showing off a trophy/collectible to their colleagues & friends in such a way as "look at me", "what a wonderful person I am foe hosting these primitive men". The artist in New York seemed to have the same vibe. It was only the people & families who actually understood what it is to work for a living that bridged the gap, connected , & showed a real interest in these men. Like your rabbit hunter & the taxi driver from the working class family who took the time to learn a few phrases of their language.

Rachael
Rachael
13 years ago

I loved this documentary, one of my favourites on here. Those five men are really amazing to me, and I have a lot of respect for their way of life. I always find it incredible to see how others live in other parts of the world, and to hear about their values and beliefs. Recommended to everyone!

Sam
Sam
13 years ago

Well made docs, they represent England fairly enough. But I was so disturbed by them. In fact I had to keep stopping and starting.

Why was I disturbed? I'm not sure. Something to do with the fact that we're invited to be voyeurs and sort of simultaneously marvel at the noble savage whilst sniggering ever so politely.

I'm with Jim Elliot on this - cross cultural exchanges where people from both cultures are held in equal respect YES, but entertainment NO. I noticed that few Brits wanted to really know about these men's lives.

There's been a bit of talk here about class. Of course. Britland is riddled with it. And there are some odd ideas here too. There's a tremendous amount of prejudice against middle and upper class people in the UK. Modern British attitudes are more or less that these classes are not something to aspire to but rather privileged classes to be pulled down. This series truly glossed over all such acute issues. I liked the way the visitors got on well with the rabbit catcher - he was as authentic as them. I'm afraid the rest of my fellow countrypeople didn't seem much more than skin deep in comparison to the Tannans and the rabbit catcher.

HY
HY
13 years ago

I found this incredibly touching and I couldn't help but smile every time they were amazed by the things they had never seen before.

Their cheerful, humble and curious personalities are so lovable! We have so much to learn from these beautiful people.

Tommy S.
Tommy S.
13 years ago

We in "civilization" are back-to-front in our ways.
These men seem more intellectual then men I've had conversations with; that have multiple PhD's and masters' They are more humble than the most religious men I've ever personally known.
They are more caring than my own mother, who does loads of physical charity work for people in hard times.
It makes me fell, if humans were a breed in some kind of contest, these people from Tanna would be the breed standard for humans. The best possible example of what a human should be.
Great doc.

Epicurus
Epicurus
13 years ago

is it just me or is the video bouncing all over the place?

connie
connie
13 years ago

how eloquent and humble these men are. we can learn so much from them

ez2b12
ez2b12
13 years ago

@ Imightberiding

You said: "You must not have had the opportunity to travel much."

Your right I haven't, like I siad we would be considered as under the poverty level if we were anywhere besides where we live, southeastern US. The people that call themselves middle class here are usually in the same boat as us, not much money but we own land. Land is considered wealth here, hince our middle class rating even though we are broke mostly. As far as my assessment that France and Canada have a better standard of living, I didn't decide that watching this show. Do the research unfortunately it is true, has been since the recent recession started. I don't know about England, I was basing that on what I saw on the doc.

CNN and MSNBC just ran stories on the amount of Americans leaving for France and Canada to get better jobs, provide a better education for their children, and have a better retirement. Not to mention the better health care situation they enjoy. Not that these countries are not guilty of stupid things as well, but they haven't went down as badly as us.

I love America but the truth is we have gotten lost. You can't borrow yourself out of debt, we are heading for more trouble and I am already worried about getting a job when I graduate from college. I wasn't smart enough to get the right degree the first time around, not much you can do with a theology degree, except teach or write a book. I am no writer and other things keep me from getting a job teaching. We are doing many of the same things that landed us here, but expecting a different out come. But hey wtfdik, right.

Imightberiding
Imightberiding
13 years ago

@ McGarvey

You are absolutely correct! I'm sorry it's late or early. I am familiar with the story/legend & their beliefs. It's the Prince Philip thing that threw me. Ignore my rambling in my other posting.

Cheers!

Imightberiding
Imightberiding
13 years ago

Oh man! There's more to it than just the three British episodes. I spoke too soon. This is never ending. These poor bazturds are headed to the U.S. next. Searching for "Tom Navy". Maybe if they spit off their hotel balcony during one of their prayers for success in New York or L.A. they'll not only find him they might have the misfortune of actually hitting him. Good luck to them. Now that I think about it, I think it might be one of these islands of Vanuatu that worships the downed WWII pilot called "John" whatsisname I briefly mentioned above. Charming culture, it's good to travel & experience other places (education/knowledge & all that) I just hope it doesn't ruin them too much. We're all too cynical & jaded in the west for any hope any way. It would be nice if they could return home & escape all our Bulls#@t. O.K. now I'm going to sleep. Or maybe I'll just stay up for the day.

McGarvey
McGarvey
13 years ago

@ Imightberiding

Prince Philip thing - sort of, but the story seems to start at some point in the 50s/60s. These people had an ancient legend about a son of a mountain spirit who traveled to a far away land and married a powerful woman. When they saw the authority and power of the queen they decided that her husband was the god of their legend returning. The pilot was John Frum and the cargo cult surrounding him also began in Tanna.

Imightberiding
Imightberiding
13 years ago

Just wanted to add.... thanks for posting this. It seems to be a joint production between Vanuatu Television & British Television. For this reason I no doubt believe it to be some what scripted & intentionally humorous & ironic. It is however entirely entertaining if not eye opening to things long forgotten or lost. I would go so far as to say that it is in the vein of a wonderful little film from the 80's which I'm sure most everyone has seen. If not it is well worth a look. It's called "The god's must be crazy". Same sort of comedic yet heart warming & thought provoking culture clash. At any rate, my previous comments were meant in a spirit of light heartedness & I really just want to say thanks again for posting this. Couldn't stop watching all the episodes. Now, I finally have to go to sleep. zzzzzzzzzz

Imightberiding
Imightberiding
13 years ago

@Kara Kittle

O.K. Now breathe....

@ everyone & this Prince Philip thing

Obviously many years ago while Britain was conquering & pillaging the known world they stopped in at Tanna & probably told them that they were subject to their authority & thus the King of England was their lord. It's easy to see the "Lost in Translation" issue here. I can't recall at the moment but not that far away is another island nation that worships an American pilot who landed on or near their island back in the 40's or 50's. They to this day believe him to be God or a god.

@ez2b12

You must not have had the opportunity to travel much. Believe me, England or rather G.B. as a whole does not have a higher standard of living than we do in Canada & the U.S.A.
You are confusing the true meaning of the class systems. What does working class mean? What does middle class mean? What does upper class mean? Sure the pig farmers at the beginning of the visit to England were wealthy but they were middle class which by it's very definition means they don't have to work, have others that work for them & if they so choose may have several hobbies. His pig farming & her art community. It's the same over here it is just more evident there because most of the population are truly working class people just like myself. I am from Canada although I have lived in the U.S. in the past for many years. I have also had the privilege & opportunity to travel a bit. It seems to be unique to the states where every one thinks of them selves as middle class. Unfortunately for most of them it's simply not true.

Sorry, didn't mean to go on. It is the wee hours of the morning while I watch this doc & have to say fantastic! Rather unfortunate for those 5 kind men to think the rest of the world is populated by uptight repressed British people. Oh! Did I say that?! Sorry again. (CDNism)

The Queen of Cheese
The Queen of Cheese
13 years ago

All hail Vlatko for another great documentary/program.

The tribe they picked is so fantastic. They're open-minded, proud, curious and friendly. It of course means they have no oil, otherwise BP would have already messed up the environment they live in, their lifestyle and customs.
I love their conclusions about the western culture and the fact they like our culture is really flattering. I'm so glad they had fun in England and US.

The tribe has it's own youtube channel, and if anyone fancies it's open to visitors! All they ask for in return is seeds, love and respect :)

Jim Elliot
Jim Elliot
13 years ago

A relative of mine with whom I share a common name was a Christian missionary who attempted to make contact with a notoriously violent tribe in Ecuador.They killed him and his associates with poisoned darts and spears before they even had much of a chance to introduce themselves. Since then, Western pressure has successfully penetrated and supplanted its own culture, displacing most of the traditional customs and practices of the aboriginals! I knew of his story from a young age and so I have thought a lot about this over the course of many years.
We are relentless and determined to compare these worlds with ours, especially from our lofty position (so we like to believe).
Although this video series and the other seem pleasant and innocuous, we introduce something that does not belong there for the sake of our knowledge, and in this case, our entertainment.
We shouldn't dare to do this no matter whether it is inevitable or not.

Kara Kittle
Kara Kittle
13 years ago

@ Muhannad Faza

There is such a place where a lot of cultures do indeed come together to live. It's called the United States.

People come here from all over the world with their customs and practices and many do not ever think to give them up. I do agree with ez2b12 about how misleading it is for Prince Phillip to do that, but I am amazed at the patience the British people show when these men tell them they have come to ask him to come home.

For me, this was another "my morality is better than your morality" tale. The fact that these men comment that England is not as it should be is disturbing to me because they are judging it on the criteria of how things work in Tanna. They do not think women are equal to men. They themselves do not understand that England and the US are filled with people who have different moralities and those people have to learn to live together.

Yes, there is homelessness in both countries and there are poor people in both countries but to these men in Tanna, they judge according to how it is in Tanna. Do they not realize that someone paid a lot of money for them to be sponsored? The pig farmer grows big pigs, yes, but he also grows them to feed a population larger than what is on Tanna.

Life would be wonderful if we all got to live in an island paradise. The chief said something at the beginning to his men "if you see a pretty girl, don't touch her"...does that mean that on Tanna, girls are touched whenever the men feel like it? If that is the case, then these men can't be as good as they want us to believe.