In 1993 Maxus, an American oil company, won the drilling rights to a pristine section of the Ecuadorian Amazon which is also home to the Huaorani, an indigenous people many anthropologists considered the most violent humans on earth. I was hired by the the oil company to help prepare their workers for potential contact with the Huaorani.
Looking back on the film today it is startling to see that we still haven't clarified our priorities. These questions remain unanswered: How can everyone involved – including the indigenous population – benefit fairly from economic development? Can economic development of sensitive environmental areas ever be accomplished without causing irreparable harm? While conservation of the Amazon is vitally important, is it right to deny indigenous access to prosperity and the benefits of the 21st century?
The debate about the rights and wrongs of development versus conservation rages on.