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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 March 2007, 11:45 GMT
'Stone age' labelled 'offensive'
Hunters in Namibia
Hunters in Namibia: Anthropologists say "primitive" is pejorative
The phrase "stone age" has been labelled offensive by anthropologists who say it should not be used to describe living peoples.

In particular, the Association of Social Anthropologists highlights the way the term has been used to describe tribal and indigenous people.

It also says that "primitive" or "savage" are no longer acceptable terms for such groups of people.

Such terms damage the welfare of tribal people, say anthropologists

"All anthropologists would agree that the negative use of the terms 'primitive' and 'stone age' to describe [tribal peoples] has serious implications for their welfare," says a statement from the anthropologists' professional association.


Such language has been used "as a pretext for depriving such peoples of land and other resources," says the association.

The anthropologists are backing a campaign to change the language used to describe indigenous people.

Survival, the campaign group that supports tribal people, says that "stone age" is a term that has been used for many years to create an impression that such people are "backward".

"This is dangerous because it is often used to justify the persecution or forced 'development' of tribal peoples. The results are almost always catastrophic: poverty, alcoholism, prostitution, disease and death," says Survival.

Survival says that there are 150 million such tribal people in 60 countries, including Indonesia, Sudan, Peru and Australia.

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