The Hadza: Last of the First

70 min. Video Project. 2017. $79. ISBN unavail.
Gr 9 Up—The Hadza are one of the few hunter-gatherer peoples in the contemporary world. This documentary takes viewers to their homeland, near the Rift Valley in East Africa, a region often cited as a birthplace for humankind. The Hadza may retain one of the oldest living traditions in the world, and the film provides subtitled interviews and discussions with a great number of the Hadza people, including women and children. Footage shows them hunting, foraging, and building temporary homes from branches and tall grasses. Aspects of their culture, including gender roles, food collection, and marriage, are examined. Several experts from the West, such as Jane Goodall, provide contextual information, and computer graphics are used to narrate important stories from Hadza lore. The film also details the challenges facing the population today. The film highlights the sad reality that this culture is subject to a common fate of hunter-gatherers in the modern world economy: their land has been encroached upon by herders and poachers, and the state has reduced their territory. Stories of abuse in schools during periods of attempted assimilation are hard-hitting.
VERDICT The documentary successfully introduces viewers to the ways of hunter gatherers and the challenges they face. Recommended for high school world history, anthropology, economics, and geography classes.

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