In North America, the coming of Europeans spelled the end of the traditional lifestyle for those already living here. It didn't matter whether people had been hunter-gatherers or agricultural, what they had known before was taken away from them. The former saw the territories required to sustain them seized, and their food supply either deliberately exterminated (the American buffalo) or greatly eroded by encroaching civilization. In the case of the latter it was usually a case of being forcibly removed from arable land to make way for European settlers, and moved to areas unsuitable for the crops they were used to growing.
European colonialists employed similar policies the world over as their influence spread. However, there were certain parts of the world where the native climate was so hostile that even the hardiest of settlers wouldn't have dreamed of trying to make a go of "taming" the land.
Until late in the 20th Century, people indigenous to places like the Saharan desert, the far north and the jungles of Africa and South America were able to carry on living much as they had for centuries. Unfortunately that began changing as "civilization's" greed for natural resources has meant that no area of the world is safe from exploitation any longer no matter how supposedly inhospitable it may once have been considered.
Once considered impenetrable and forbidding, the jungles of Africa have only recently begun to feel the pinch of progress and development. The people of Central and West African nations are now seeing their lands torn apart by mining for materials used in cell phone manufacture, as well as other precious metals. The forests themselves are one of the last great sources of lumber, and improving technology has finally allowed companies access to the great trees that have stood for centuries.
Naturally, those most affected by these encroachments are those least able to defend themselves. In the Central African Republic it's the pygmy Bayaka people in the province of Yandombe who are most at risk. Pygmies, treated as second class citizens by the other tribes, have long lived as hunter gatherers deep within the forests.
The new movie Oka shows how depriving them of their traditional way of life has begun the process of marginalizing this people, as has happened to so many others the world over. Told through the eyes of an ethnomusicologist, Larry Whitman (played by the wonderful Kris Marshall), and based on the experiences of real life ethnomusicologist Louis Sarno who has lived with them for 25 years., the movie depicts the Bayaka's circumstances with both intelligence and humour.