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Public Lecture Series with Edith Mirante

The Wind in the Bamboo: Survival of Asia’s Ancient Indigenous Peoples

This event will be streamed live. Please visit our Live Stream page at 7pm on the evening of the event to view the lecture for free.

Edith Mirante’s vividly illustrated talk, “The Wind in the Bamboo” reveals the plight of tribal Asians who were classified as a separate race and considered doomed to vanish. Defined as “Negrito” because they physically resemble small Africans, they may be descended from a first wave of migration out of Africa to Asia in prehistoric times.

Called “savage pygmies” and “hideous dwarfs,” sold into slavery, exhibited at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, nearly exterminated by disease and a cataclysmic volcano, these extraordinary people now survive as forest hunter gatherers in only a few places: mainland Malaysia, the Philippines and India’s remote Andaman Islands. Some are still armed with spears and blowpipes, a few with cellphones and graduate degrees. They were subjected to the Victorian camera’s eye and the calipers of craniometry, and now strands of their DNA are analyzed for clues to early human migrations.

To reach the “Negrito” peoples Mirante traveled by boat, small plane, bicycle, train, bus, jeepney, motorbike and kuliglig. She investigated the environmental, social and political challenges they face in modern Asia with its oil palm plantations, mining claims, and deep rooted discrimination. Mirante presents the story of the “Negrito” peoples (the ultimate survivors) with candor, wit and compassion. Her presentation features her own photographs and rare historical images.

Mirante’s writing about Southeast Asia’s indigenous peoples has been called “a contribution to the literature of human rights and to the literature of high adventure.” On her latest book, “The Wind in the Bamboo: A Journey in Search of Asia’s ‘Negrito’ Indigenous Peoples” Emma Larkin, author of “Finding George Orwell in Burma” commented: “Edith Mirante takes the reader on a great pan-Asian adventure. This is a timely and vital journey among ancient people struggling to survive in the modern world.”

Edith Mirante has roamed Asia since the early 1980s, collecting information on human rights and environmental issues. In 1986 she founded Project Maje, an information project on Burma and she has investigated atrocities and resistance in some of the most remote corners of Burma’s frontier war zones. She has testified before the US Congress, European Trade Commission and the International Labor Organization and has produced reports and commentary on topics including the Moken “Sea Gypsies,” Rohingya refugees and Burma’s hip hop underground.

Date: Monday, February 8th

Time: 6:00pm Reception, 7:00pm Lecture

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 East 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: $10

Guest Ticket Price: $25

Student Ticket Price:

$5 with a valid Student ID

Reservation Notes:

Reservations are allotted on a first-come, first-serve basis. To secure a reservation, please call us at 212.628.8383 or email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Background image photography courtesy of members Christoph Baumer, Neil Laughton, Matt Harris and Don Walsh's image of the Bathyscape Trieste