Hanging out Tuesday with friends from Outbounding and Transitions Abroad, I decided to be a bit provocative. Since the topic was evaluating media coverage of indigenous tourism, I asked the participants whether they were satisfied. The consensus was a clear ‘no.’ Among the problems — recycling of tired tropes and the lack of depth in travel features.
Here’s the good news. Examples of good practices and workaround solutions for travelers seeking indigenous tourism experiences outnumbered complaints. Kudos to everyone in the hangout: Abhishek Behl, Ethan Gelber, Gregory Hubbs, Mike Robbins, Nicholas Stanziano and Carlos Topete. The prognosis for future coverage was quite positive, particularly as media changes from writing about others to collaborating on the social web.
One good example is the expanded coverage of local culture from the town of Teotitlán del Valle in Oaxaca, Mexico. The Zapotec community has its own Google+ and Twitter accounts. I think this is the model for future collaboration. It’s not just foreigners (like myself!) writing about indigenous Oaxaca. There’s a place for foreigners (like myself) writing about Mexico. We just need to seek new ways to collaborate and step #1 is to seek out and interact with local indigenous voices.
Here’s another good example. Earlier this year Australia’s TEDxManly featured the presentation Keep our languages alive by Kylie Farmer. This is my choice of video of the year for anyone visiting Australia. Why? Because it asks the simple question: do you know how to say ‘hello’ in any Aboriginal languages? This video is a gamechanger. Want to interact with indigenous people? Learn how to say ‘hello.’
Indigenous Wiki: Zapotec: Zapotecs are an indigenous group in Oaxaca. Linguistic diversity fans: there are about 100 variations of the language. If you want to learn the lingo from San Jerónimo Tlacochahuaya, check out the BnZunni YouTube channel.