Sociology: Tribe that extinguished itself when missionaries gave them metal axes?

I seem to remember some sociological abstract I had to read in college that described a tribe in which there was one stone axe and it was the tribal chief’s property and symbol of his power. When missionaries or a team of observers went to see them, they gave metal axes to everyone. Evidently, this so upset the power structure that they killed each other off and/or committed suicide. I’m sure I’m wrong on some details here. Does anyone remember this story?

Sorry, no ringy-dingy in Bosda’s belfry.

But I’ll bump ya to the top of the list. :slight_smile:

It was probably Lauriston Sharp’s article about the wholescale introduction of steel axes among the Yir Yoront, “Steel Axes for Stone Age Austrailians.”

Also: although the article and the subject matter are also relevant to sociology, Sharp was a professor of anthropology.

While I’m at it, I ran across an excerpt from Everett Roger’s book Diffusion of Innovations that sums Sharp’s article up very well:

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~idris/Essays/Rogers_Diffusion_of_Innovations.htm

That’s it pravnik, thanks. I thought it all came to a darker end. Anyone else think it sounds like a Kilgore Trout novel?