We are off to a swell start for Indigenous Peoples Week. I judge the success of an event by two factors: how surprised I am by what others share and how pleased I am by making contact with old friends. Hanging out yesterday with Anders Karrstedt, he suggested we evaluate the week by how many new participants we can coax online. I agree it’s vital that to expand indigenous tourism we need to get more people talking about this, asking questions and sharing examples. It’s all up to you.
Please remember that Indigenous Peoples Week serves multiple communities: there are localized indigenous guides, artisans, community leaders seeking tips on making tourism an effective force for economic growth. There are policy-makers and government leaders unsure on how to develop or market indigenous culture. And there are travelers who want to know about the inhabitants of the lands they wander. Logistically, how do we pull everyone into the same room?
Today’s hangout asks whether our media coverage of indigenous tourism is good enough. Personally, I am far from satisfied. Travel writers repeat too many tropes, discovering as it were indigenous peoples for the first time over and over again. Enough Columbusing! It’s time to pay attention and listen to what indigenous friends are saying. And if travelers want to be supportive, there are plenty of ways to amplify indigenous voices.
One voice I’d encourage you to listen to and amplify is the Yucatán-based @elChilamBalam which kindly translated ‘Indigenous Peoples Week’ into the local Maya language: U k’iinilo’ob wayil kaajo’obe’ or Semana de los pueblos originarios. A radio station is being developed and you can also listen to their Soundcloud channel. Elchilambalam.com is one of my favorite Mexico websites.