Center for World Indigenous Studies
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Ecotourism

Published: March 31, 2011, Author: JayTaber

Ecotourism managed right can be a boon to indigenous communities, but
the decision to capitalize on conservation has to be their own.
Otherwise, tourism is just another invasion of indigenous privacy.

In
the United States, ecotourism on indigenous lands created our most
magnificent national parks, as well as sacred site desecration and
traffic nightmares. Some tribes, however, are now managing tourism in
their territories in a more respectful, holistic manner.

In the Mexican state of Chiapas, ecotourism on Indian ejidos
has spawned a new wave of violence by the state against indigenous
collectives resistant to the hotels and freeways the industry plans for
their homeland. In order to divide the indigenous communities, the
Mexican government issued individual title to Indians co-opted by greed,
and in turn has armed these title holders so they can attack
collectives.

In the end, ecotourism is neither good nor bad per
se; as usual, it’s the process of deciding that matters. When the
process is designed to exclude or demonize indigenous opponents, then
violence and misery will ensue.

As the ejidos of Mexico struggle
to conserve their identity and resources within a corrupt and violent
narcostate, tourists and investors must decide for themselves what role
indigenous land tenure and human rights should play in their decisions.
There are no neutral positions.

Chief George Manuel Memorial Indigenous Library

The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.

access here