Friday, November 7, 2008

Indigenous Peoples and Ecotourism in the Amazon

Ecotourism is big business, accounting for millions of dollaers a year. Started in the 1970s and 1980s, it was not until the 1990s that the industry really began to flourish. At that time it was more about adventures on private yachts or safaris to newly accessible part of Africa. In fact, back in 1999 I was a representative at the 9th Annual World Congress on Adventure Travel and Ecotourism held in Tucson, Arizona, where I was involved in getting various ecotour companies to include a cultural component in their Caribbean and Latin American tours. I had some success, but at that time the infrastructure and overall agenda of the industry was not there to really achieve the goals desired. Now, however, this is no longer the case.
Amazonas Posada Ecotourism Lodge
More and more ecotour companies are not only including a cultural component, but some are heavily focused on including the local indigenous people in their activities. One such ecotour company is Posada Amazonas located in Infierno in eastern Peru. Infierno and Posada Amazonas are located in the province of Tambopata, several hours by motorized canoe from the capital of Madre de Dios, Puerto Maldonado. The community covers approximately 10,000 hectares on both sides of the Tambopata River and is located within the buffer zone of the Tambopata National Reserve and near the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park.

Despite its title and legal designation by government decree as a communally-owned native territory, Infierno is culturally diverse. The members of the community comprise three main ethnic groups: Ese eja, riberenos, and Andean colonos (colonsits). The cultural and ancestral heritage of the Ese eja is tied with the lowland rainforests of what is today southeastern Peru and northwestern Bolivia. The Ese eja distinguish among themselves by referring to their place of origin, generally the river where they were born or have lived most of their lives (Ocampo-Raeder 2006). The Ese eja of the Infierno are Bahuaja Ese eja, or the “Ese eja from the Tambopata River.” Two other groups of Ese eja are associated with the Heath River in Madre de Dios and the Madidi River in Bolivia (Alexiades 1999, Lepri 2006, Peluso 2003).

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Anonymous said...

great adventures buddy!

for more biotourism information about
wild aventures in natural places
just check

Hope this helps someone!

Peter N. Jones said...

Thanks Anonymous, I hope more adventure travel and ecotravel companies include indigenous peoples in their plans. I think there is some great potential for benefit on all sides.

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