I noticed this image on Reddit today, and it got me thinking about the whole system of colonialism.
The man in the picture is Horatio Gordon Robley, sitting there with his collection of Mokomokai. Mokomokai are the preserved heads of family members or vanquished foes. They were kept by Maori tribes as a way to honour their dead or the trophies of war.
Maoris traded these heads in return for firearms. Robley collected 35 heads in total, publishing research about them.
But it got me thinking, if aliens ever visited Earth, what would they want from us and what would we demand in return? Would we end up bargaining our most precious possession for baubles? advanced weaponry? knowledge? Assuming any alien that visits us would be far more technologically advanced, would we ever strike a fair deal if the power dynamic was so unbalanced?