"Take a Picture with a Real Indian": (Self-) Representation, Ecotourism, and Indigeneity in Amazonia
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This thesis uses three case studies to analyze and contextualize the interface between Western conceptions of indigenous peoples and nature and community-based conservation and development schemes in the Amazon: Kapawi Ecolodge (Ecuador), Chalalán Ecolodge (Bolivia), and Posada Amazonas (Peru). It explores how three Amazonian communities represent their indigenous identity in the online marketing of their ecotourism lodges. As a methodological tool, this research identifies four characteristics of the Ecologically Noble Savage stereotype: the spatial, the spiritual, the temporal, and the cultural. Current ethnographic literature describing these communities is used to analyze these self-representations. This thesis examines these representations within larger academic discussions on authenticity, power and control, and the long-term viability of ecotourism as a community-based development model.