Tourism and Exploitation Within The Amazon

An issue that I will be focusing on is tourism and exploitation within Amazonian Tribes. Early in the year we watched a Documentary called Cannibal Tours. This documentary that came out in 1988 shows white wealthy Europeans and Americans touring Papua New Guinea and touring Papua New Guinea tribes. However, when they are touring these tribes, they are on a luxurious boat, and stopping at the villages along the river. When they stop and tour these villages, it is hard to watch and digest. These tourists exploit and treat these Natives like they are a part of some type of zoo exhibit. These tourist shoved cameras in the natives faces and took pictures of everything these Natives did. When the tourists tried buying goods, they would try to haggle with the Natives and get a lower price, even though they could easily afford the original price. Some of the Natives in the film were extremely unhappy with what was going on.

This got me thinking do these native tribes like tourism? Do they want all this tourism, affecting them, their life, and their culture? Are they afraid of losing their culture? Do they just do it for the money? Some tribes have banned tourism, and don’t want contact with the outside world. One of these tribes is the Ticuna Indian tribe. This tribe is located in the Brazilian Rainforest, near the borders of Peru, Brazil, and Columbia. The Ticuna tribe has over 70 villages, consisting of over 36,000 natives in Brazil, 6,000 natives in Columbia, and 7,000 in Peru. in 2011, this tribe banned all tourism from coming in and visiting and exploiting them (like we saw in Cannibal Tours). However, before 2011, this tribe experienced what the tribes in Cannibal tours experienced. On Kottke.org one of the Tucina natives talked about tourism and described it as ““You have to sell yourself, make an exhibition of yourself. It’s not good,” Matapi muttered.” The Ticuna did not want tourism to feed their economy, they did not want they way of life. So in 2011 they voted to ban tourism. all Ticunas have embraced this way of life. Tourists were always leaving trash behind, shoving cameras in the Ticuna faces, asking thousands of questions, sometimes rude and uncomfortable, and and haggling when buying handmade items, which affected the Ticuna economy.One Ticuna said “What we earn here is very little, tourists come here, they buy a few things, a few artisanal goods, and they go. It is the travel agencies that make the good money.” (kottke.org). Foreigners can visit only if they are invited; on any other circumstance guards with sticks will chase away anyone else. Should we exploit these Native tribes and disrupt their culture?

 

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