Film Forum – Secret of the Tribe

Secret of the Tribe is a documentary that reveals the controversy of the scientific exploration and fieldwork conducted by renowned scientist, including Napoleon Chagnon. In fact, Napoleon Chagnon is a renowned anthropologist but his methods of work depicted in the film evoke repulsion and severe criticism. To put it more precisely, Napoleon Chagnon probably stood on the ground that scientific ends justify means because he used quite controversial methods of studying and research to conduct the study of the tribe Yanomamo. In fact, the film shows that Napoleon Chagnon has broken the basic ethical norm of a true scientist for he ignored interests of his subjects and put scientific ends above moral responsibility in regard to the subjects. What is meant here is the fact that the subjects involved in the study conducted by Chagnon were unconscious of possible effects, whereas the researcher used their unconsciousness of possible effects for his benefits as a scientist to conduct an in-depth study.

At the same time, the film portrays Jacques Lizot and Kenneth Good as scientists driven by the insatiable desire of exploration and scientific study, which surpasses ethical boundaries. To put it more precisely, Jacques Lizot and Kenneth Good are similar to a significant extent because they view science as the sense of their life. At the same time, they use unethical methods of studying. For instance, Kenneth Good explores such feelings as love playing with members of Yanomamo tribe as if they were mere puppets. The same behavior may be traced in the attitude of Jacques Lizot in relation to the tribe. Naturally, the western audience condemns such practices because they are undemocratic and violate rights of Yanomamos.

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