Meet the Natives: USA

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Meet the Natives: USA TV Poster Image
Engaging reality docu looks at America through fresh eyes.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show’s overall message is one of peace, sharing, and respect. The tribesmen's observations also invite viewers to reflect on various aspects of American life.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The tribesmen spread a mission of peace and understanding. All of the Tannan ambassadors are aware of modern culture but actively choose a traditional island lifestyle. Their American hosts are warm and gracious but sometimes unintentionally infantalize their guests.

Violence

War is discussed, but fighting is never shown. A visit to a military base features tanks, guns, and the firing of weapons.

Sex

References to people having to look “sexy” in certain parts of the United States. The Tanna tribes’ native dress includes penis sheaths and exposes the men's chests, backs, and buttocks -- but this attire isn't intended to be sexual. Discussions about sexual orientation.

Language
Consumerism

The tribe sometimes gets to experience their hosts’ luxury lifestyles, including driving BMWs, shopping for carts full of brand-name groceries, etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine and champagne are sometimes served during meals; the Tanna tribe also visits a bar. The tribesmen smoke cigarettes. One of the Tanna ambassadors is a tribal medicine man. One American couple is shown getting Botox injections.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this series -- in which five tribesmen from a remote South Pacific island tour the United States and experience various American cultural rituals and traditions -- is full of positive messages about peace and cultural sharing (though some of tribesmen's well-intentioned American hosts treat them a bit like adult children). The show's content is pretty mild overall, but mature subjects are occasionally discussed (including gay marriage). There's also some visible drinking and smoking; the tribesmen’s native attire reveals their chest, back, and buttocks, but it's not presented in a sexual context.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 2 year old Written by[email protected] October 8, 2010
Just bigin to imargin if such tribe are still existing under the world,which i will like know more about them if thier is any little contribution i can render... Continue reading
Parent Written byTeamBambu March 7, 2014

Great series

All enjoyed it together. Very interesting to see these guys totally out of their element and their take on things. It's also interesting to see other peopl... Continue reading

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What's the story?

MEET THE NATIVES: USA follows a group of tribesmen from the remote South Pacific island of Tanna, Vanuatu, as they travel across the United States to experience the "tribal customs" of the American people while spreading a message of peace. The five men -- who have all actively chosen to live a traditional island lifestyle -- visit places like Yellowstone, Montana; Orange County, California; and New York City to stay with different families (a.k.a. “tribes”) and learn about rituals ranging from grocery shopping to getting Botox injections. Throughout their journey, the Tanna tribesmen share some of their own native customs and offer personal reflections about what they're experiencing.

Is it any good?

Meet the Natives was born partly out of the Tanna tribe’s desire to pay homage to an American man whom they believe was responsible for bringing peace to their island years ago. The group's voyage also provides a fresh perspective on the different ways that people across the United States live their lives. And the tribesmen offer interesting insights on some of the values that currently dictate the way Americans think about being part of a community, raising children, treating their elders, and dealing with aging.

The sends positive messages about sharing cultural experiences and finding common ground among disparate groups. Watching the Tanna natives do things like touching snow and riding a roller coaster for the first time in their lives is definitely fun, too. But there are some irritating moments, too, especially when the men -- among them a revered tribal chief, a respected medicine man, and a lead tribal dancer -- are treated like adult children by some of their well-meaning American hosts. Still, in the end, the show is an entertaining, perceptive look into what life in America looks like to those who live a world away.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it would be like to host people from a remote region of the world. What kinds of things would you want them to experience? What would you want to learn from them?

  • What would it be like if the roles were reversed, and you stayed with a remote tribe and learned their customs?

  • Overall, does this show present America positively or negatively?

TV details

For kids who love travel

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