This week saw the observation of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (09.08.18), an annual event that highlights, promotes and defends the understanding and true worth of indigenous populations.
Indigenous and minority groups across the world are caught between safeguarding their own traditions and adapting to modern behaviour as globalisation makes its inroads. It is a constant struggle to protect their rights.
As a travel organiser, we at Nomadic Thoughts have always valued and celebrated the diversity of the world’s many beliefs, traditions and ways of life. We wholeheartedly believe that, managed well, the partnership between local people and their international visitors can benefit and protect the cultures that are so under threat.
Indeed, tourism is often the strongest minder of traditional ways. Visitors and local communities alike benefit from interactive experiences such as tours, shows and environmental excursions which focus on historical beliefs and ways of life.
Native American guides in the Mid-West, Mayan descendants in Central America and rural farmers in the Andes are perfect examples of local minority groups embracing tourism for the benefit of their communities. Educating their own community, as much as the visitors, in ancestral beliefs, language, community rights, past treaty agreements and traditional knowledge.
Likewise, the many African tribal ancestries can be further understood and, one hopes, safeguarded through tourism. Indigenous communities’ religious beliefs, as well as the local environment, can be upheld and supported through tourism in many a destination, from the Himalayan peaks, Amazonian jungle, south east Asian tribal regions, to the deserts of Australasia and islands in the South Pacific.
Hand in hand with the United Nations Declaration on the rights of the world’s 370 million indigenous people, goes the sincere hope that, as custodians of a vast majority of the world’s 7,000 languages across 5,000 different cultures, their identity is both recognised and sustained for the future.
Of particular interest is this year’s theme, which focuses on Indigenous peoples’ migration and movement.