Alexis C. Bunten and Nelson Graburn, editors. Indigenous Tourism Movements. University of Toronto Press, 2018. 268 pp. ISBN 9781442628298.


            The edited book is divided into three distinct components in the study of Indigenous tourism movements: identity, political, and knowledge movements. The introduction does lay the foundation for the book in a concise manner. While I feel that it overstates the contributions the edited book offers and the scope of the gap that exists, I agree that most volumes on the topic have more of a business or tourism management focus rather than a critical social science approach. The authors identify two missing elements or limitations of their collection: a lack of Indigenous contributors, and no analysis from Indigenous Asian perspectives. I would also add that no contributions were made from Indigenous European perspectives either, although this is addressed somewhat in the epilogue. The authors state that even though Indigenous scholars were approached to contribute to the volume, for various reason they did not. I found this aspect troubling and it also relates to what I consider a significant weakness of the volume – the lack of Indigenous voices. I will provide a brief overview of each section and each chapter before returning to an overall assessment of the collection.




Identity Movements


Chapter 2 (Alexis C. Bunten)


This chapter is a reprint from an earlier book chapter. It focuses on the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park in North Queensland, near Cairns, Australia. The author unpacks the relationship between the tourist gaze and the host's manipulation of it. It is outlined upfront that the chapter does not draw on established relationships with local Djabugay people. Nor, it is also acknowledged, does it present the views of park employees or management staff, who in part decide on the representational imagery presented at the park and enact these cultural representations on a quotidian basis. The chapter is based on the author's own experiences as an ethnographic researcher at Indigenous tourism sites, which admittedly is extensive. Methods utilized were analyses of the park's website and reviewer comments on TripAdvisor forums. Two references, a total of two lines in the whole chapter, were from Indigenous employees from the site. Bunten clearly spends some time connecting localized issues to broader challenges faced by Indigenous tourism sites and the global market spaces that they are competing in. The author discusses how playing to the tourist imaginary can be an implicit form of acceptance of the narratives of conquest that are perpetuated through and by colonial repression. She also demonstrates how within any Indigenous community there are also those who consider cultural tourism sites as educational opportunities to open up dialogue and engage with tourists, and importantly, debunk stereotypical representations of Indigenous cultures in Australia. Bunten views these tourist locations as powerful sites of cultural exchange and a means for local peoples to change perceptions of Indigenous peoples. As with Chapter 9, on Inuit experiences in Canada's north, I would have liked to see an emphasis on how this is especially the case in rural and remote contexts where there are fewer opportunities for local peoples to engage with non-Indigenous peoples and international tourists alike, at least in situations where community members remain in control of their cultural representational productions.


Chapter 3 (Salazar)


Chapter three provides a brief history of the Maasai peoples in Tanzania and also includes the contemporary issues impacting communities, some of which are directly related to the growth of tourism industries. Although methods are presented overviewing participant observation and the interviews conducted through ongoing work with the Maasai, no Indigenous voices are present in the text nor is there content from interviews integrated. The chapter reads more like a literature review of works that assess the issues the Maasai face, heavily drawing from the author's previous work. However, the chapter does provide an interesting discussion about the mobility that tourism industries in east Africa offer to some Maasai who are benefitting financially from the commoditization and globalization of their culture. Salazar spends some space debunking myths around the temporalized, pastoral Maasai warrior, who is untouched from modernity, contemporary land use changes, and new tourism economies in East Africa. In this aspect, the chapter was effective.


Chapter 4 (Stocker)


Chapter four is based on fieldwork conducted in 1999 and 2009 in rural Costa Rica. Although participant observation and interviews are profiled in a description of methods, this chapter mostly draws on anecdotal information presented by the author from research trips to Chorotega communities. The main premise of the chapter is that during a period of cultural revival, local peoples used imagery that is connected to other Indigenous communities in Costa Rica, or more broadly throughout Central America, in order to meet tourists' expectations of Indigeneity: thus cultural alchemy becomes an impetus for cultural revitalization. Stocker states that efforts were made to display Indigeneity easily recognized by outsiders. Throughout the chapter there is an uncomfortable tension around "authenticity." The author seems to oscillate between celebrating the Chorotega's ingenuity for engaging with diverse forms of Indigeneity and then critiquing the "authenticity" of their use of cultural insignia during this revival. As an example, Stocker describes that the tradition of using Jaguar themed tattoos or symbols had lapsed, so it had to be reinvented in the region, and that the increased visibility of this practice was partly due to the community's interaction with local tourism economies. However, the Jaguar, as an apex predator, of course would have featured prominently in Chorotega imagery and oral testimony even though local or regional populations of the predator may have declined significantly. I am not sure the author relates this local history of the Jaguar as this alone may explain, or at least in part, the decline and rise of its use in tattoos. Stocker does not reveal the meanings that were generated from these cultural symbols, even if they are not "authentic" from her perspective. Instead of using an anthropological lens to investigate the level of "authenticity" of the cultural symbols, it would have been much more effective if the author had asked local peoples about their perspectives and presented the findings in their own words. Furthermore, this type of borrowing of global Indigenous imagery occurs on a daily basis in Indigenous tourism sites internationally. The author demonstrates this by including her descriptions of children "playing Indian" and drawing from global popular forms and stereotypes of Indigeneity in ways that shaped local identity production. The most interesting component of the chapter is the efforts of local Indigenous peoples to recognize the value of their cultural practices and pursue new economic opportunities with non-Indigenous tourism providers. By relying on symbolism of a pan-Indian nature, the Chorotega created capital with regional tourism producers as they were offering a product that had value to them. In this manner, as the author argues, performances of Indigeneity became meaningful for both insiders and outsiders.


Political Movements


Chapter 5 (Theodossopoulos)


This chapter considers the potential of Indigenous tourism sites to shape the political representation of Indigenous communities by assessing how the formation of national parks and related tourism opportunities have facilitated the Embera in Panama to remain on their lands. The research is based on 17 months of fieldwork spread over 7 years (2005-2012). The author discusses how, in response to the hunting and cultivation restrictions that came with the 1985 park formation, communities turned to tourism to replace subsistence practices that would have occurred inside the newly created park boundaries. Tourism economies provided opportunities for communities to regularly engage in cultural practices that in some cases had lapsed, and to reinvest not only in cultural performances such as traditional dance and regalia, but also Embera oral histories. Theodossopoulos argues that tourism not only allowed local communities to escape the poverty instituted by national park restrictions, but also to position their cultures as an important part of the national tourism strategy as well as to produce an alternative source of economic growth. Ironically, their role in national tourism could facilitate negotiations for expanded land rights and access. Although perhaps covered elsewhere by the author, it would have been interesting to include a discussion of the types of impacts the displacement had in the community, or at least cover this literature from other international examples. While I realize the author's fieldwork began after the initial displacement, this is not simply a case where some forms of subsistence and cultural practices are replaced by tourism economies. The histories of Indigenous peoples in or around national parks globally are filled with marginalization and cultural loss precisely because subsistence practices of hunting, fishing, gathering, and sometimes agriculture, are the basis or oral histories and many other forms of linguistic or cultural practices. Interestingly, in this case, not having access to traditional territories and sacred sites through displacement has engendered this loss, but it has also allowed communities to remain near their lands, as opposed to relocating to impoverished Latino communities in regional urban centers.


Chapter 6 (Giraudo)


This chapter profiles cultural tourism in San communities of Botswana. After a succinct history, the author includes a helpful section on the evolving discourses of Indigeneity in Africa. Importantly, Giraudo outlines why African experiences vary from those in settler-colonial states while also being impacted greatly by destructive European influences on the continent in how post-colonial African nations have defined, and continue to define, Indigeneity. The author then profiles the opportunities brought by tourism and the types of San representations desired in these new economies. Other than some references to newspapers and government documents, there is no discussion of methods or methodologies. Similar to the previous chapter, this work describes the national government's interest in growing the cultural and Indigenous tourism sectors which has provided some communities with new opportunities and encouraged the government's rethinking about how it defines Indigeneity and relevant policies that impact communities. This is a clearly written and valuable chapter.


Chapter 7 (Douny)


This chapter centres on Dogon peoples of West Africa in Mali. The author concentrates on the processes by which authenticity is altered through the commodification of Dogon cultural identities in performance for tourism industries. This chapter is basically an investigation into the "authenticity" of the performances and art provided for, and presented to, tourists. Observations from the author are drawn from fieldwork conducted from 2003-2011. Once again, no description of methods or methodologies is included. It would have been interesting to learn more about how the Malian political crisis of 2012 impacted the region's tourism industry and how the Dogon have adapted to the absence of these relatively new economic streams of revenue.


Knowledge Movements


Chapter 8 (Bunn-Marcuse)


This chapter explores how Indigenous artists exploited the growing tourism economies of southeastern Alaska in the late 19th century. By examining the actual artworks and the circumstances of production through the journals of travelers to the region, the author outlines some of the strategies that artists employed to benefit from these new economies. These strategies are described as cross cultural encounters mediated by consumer demand. Bunn-Marcuse contends that Indigenous perspectives are missing from the historical record and admits that much more work is needed with oral histories. This suggests that evidence or oral testimony can be vital to a more comprehensive understanding of these encounters. In this regard, the chapter does little to address this gap in scholarly knowledge. However, the author's work does present new perspectives on the production aspects of the art to complement the literature that is dominated by the consumption or collector side. The chapter reveals that the tourism literature of the period presented Alaska's Indigenous population as part of the "natural" landscape and a key element of experiencing the "wildness" of America's newest acquisition. Describing the complex engagement in these industries by Indigenous peoples, Bunn-Marcuse states: "The reality was much more complicated, demanding a careful maneuvering between colonial demands, tourist expectations, and kinship obligations in order to navigate the colonial economy and chart the course for economic and cultural survival" (184-185). Towards the end of the chapter, the author connects how forms of colonial repression impacted artists and performers who participated in the tourism industry.


Chapter 9 (Graburn)


In this short chapter, the author argues that there has been a breakdown of former colonial roles and hierarchies in the Indigenous tourism economies of Canada's Eastern Arctic. The chapter does offer some interesting analysis of Inuit tourism as well as the shifting dimensions of tourism in Canada's north. As the number of Inuit who live and work outside of Nunavut are increasing, they now comprise a significant portion of the visitors who tour the region. Although still informative, the sections on Inuit hunting and fishing tourism economies, ecotourism, and park development are certainly outdated. This is particularly the case in the descriptions on conservation hunting of polar bears and Indigenous protected areas formation, as there are several new updates on policy and community-based conservation models that would have been critical to include. For example, Torngat Mountains National Park (2008) is referenced as the newest national park, but there have been numerous park developments of significance since then. The chapter does provide a solid history of Inuit arts and crafts, but the methods outlined, the analysis of brochures created by the tourism industry and opinions of other non-Indigenous scholars doing research in the region, are problematic. When referring to early tourism initiatives and the key roles of Quallunaat (Euro-Canadians) Graburn states: "these people were able to override rules and pull strings to get things done, but none of them did it for their own monetary profit" (215). No non-Indigenous tourism entrepreneurs exploited Inuit labour as carvers, performers, and service providers in the whole territory? This statement is incredibly naïve and contrary to the findings of previous research. Unfortunately, I find this chapter outdated and severely lacking in Indigenous perspectives.


Chapter 10 (Palomino-Schalscha)


This chapter argues that it is through tourism organizations that Mapuche/Pewenche peoples in Chile have defended their rights to their territories while adapting to neoliberalism and its impacts on local ecosystems. It is through tourism that these Indigenous communities are making visible connections to traditional territories, asserting their rights, and reaffirming their knowledge of the land, including its human and non-human actors. The author provides a detailed discussion of the Chilean government's contradictory approach: implementing policies of development and poverty relief while simultaneously criminalizing Indigenous protest and neglecting Indigenous rights to lands and resources. Readers will appreciate the history of natural resource extraction industries and the conflicts with Indigenous communities. While profiling broader political movements that impact Indigenous peoples, including legislation for the rights of nature in Ecuador and the rights of Mother Earth in Bolivia, the author links these issues to the localized context in Alto Bío Bío. Three quotes from community members were provided, but there is no methods section with any detail. At least some evidence of Indigenous voice is in the chapter, but there is no indication of how this evidence was collected or shared. Palomino-Schalscha asserts that through tourism, community members have increased their abilities to make visible and actualize their ways of knowing and producing new alternatives, or ways, of imagining their lands and their related cultural connections. Overall, it is an effective chapter.


Epilogue (Graburn)


The epilogue begins with an interesting overview on the production of Indigeneity in both Russia and China. These are subjects that have received very little attention by scholars. Graburn then discusses why only one Indigenous scholar (the co-editor) was able to contribute to the ten chapters in the book. He suggests that it is the double burden that some Indigenous scholars bear by doing both traditional academic work and community-based contributions to either the Indigenous communities they come from or others that they have relations with. While I agree with this point, I also suggest that the orientation of the book on a certain type of Indigenous tourism is an issue and perhaps too narrow of a disciplinary focus may not have attracted Indigenous scholars who work in this area, but are not necessarily anthropologists. There is also a lengthy discussion that profiles Indigenous anthropologists who have received some recognition in their work over the last couple of decades and this will be informative to many readers. The epilogue does effectively summarize the contents of the collection.




            The biggest critique that many scholars will have of this volume is the overwhelming lack of Indigenous voice or perspective, not just the lack of Indigenous academics that have contributed. The chapters rarely present perspectives of Indigenous community members, participants or collaborators. For example, numerous contributors profile their extensive experience (sometimes many decades) of working at community levels, but where is the voice of the peoples they collaborate with on their research projects? Why are collaborators and participants not made co-authors or authors of their own chapters? I view this as an outdated way of doing anthropological work or research with Indigenous communities and peoples. Over the last few decades, there are collaborative ethnographies emerging from the discipline that are much better models of doing research for and with Indigenous communities.

            The other critique that I have of the volume is that it suffers from an absence of methods or methodological descriptions throughout. Many of the chapters force readers to take all information at face value as very little evidence is actually presented, other than referencing key works on the subject. I found this surprising and, at times, not very convincing. This is especially the case when the focus of the book is to examine the multiple challenges Indigenous communities encounter through their involvement in global tourism structures.

            However, this edited collection does expand the scope of analysis on Indigenous tourism movements, which is dominated by settler-colonial nations, especially Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. The concentration of the book on Central and South America (Panama, Costa Rica and Chile) and the African continent (Mali, Tanzania and Botswana) does support geographic and cultural diversity in Indigenous tourism scholarship. Due to the variety of case studies presented, the volume will have appeal to both general and academic audiences, although it is better suited to the latter. I anticipate that it will be of use as a course text for senior undergraduate and graduate classes, particularly with its international scope and the ways that the researchers profile and situate diverse Indigenous communities.

            Despite a few shortcomings, some of which I emphasize above, the book does uncover some of the mounting tensions and pervasive discontinuities in global Indigenous tourism movements. Consequently, the book makes a significant contribution to the literature on Indigenous tourism, colonial histories of cultural repression, the production of Indigeneity, nationalism, and the inequitable of political power structures that continue to marginalize and disadvantage Indigenous communities internationally.


Courtney Mason, Thompson Rivers University