How Social Impact Travel Supports Indigenous Peoples
There are 370 million indigenous peoples living around the world, representing 5,000 different cultures. According to the United Nations, indigenous peoples are those who have “retained social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live.”
In fact, every August 9th the United Nation celebrates International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. As such, this day celebrates the unique cultures of these groups. And, ensures that their rights are protected.
Travelers are drawn to visiting indigenous peoples to learn more about their way of life and culture. However, most of the money spent on these touristic activities is funneled out of the local communities.
That’s where social impact travel and Visit.org comes into play. Visit.org encourages immersive travel experiences that promote cultural exchange. But, 100% of the revenue is reinvested back into the local community. Thus, money stays in local hands.
So, read on to see our picks for where to travel to experiences indigenous life in a sustainable way.
15% of Mexico’s population is comprised of indigenous peoples. One of these groups is the Rarámuri people. Living in Northwestern Mexico, they have a population of between 50,000 and 70,000 people.
In their native language, Rarámuri means “foot runner” which reflects their incredible athletic skills. They are able to run extraordinary distances on foot for transport and communication purposes as villages are built many miles apart. An agricultural based culture, the Rarámuri people are very in touch with nature and the environment.
What to Do
To experience daily life, head to Copper Canyon. Camp under the stars in the Sierra Taramuhara mountains. Visit a local Rarámuri village and enjoy a delicious home cooked meal. Then, hike along the paths to get an up close look at the beautiful terrain that the Rarámuri call home. Finally, end your adventure around a campfire while your local guide tells stories about life in the Rarámuri culture.
Furthermore, all tour revenue supports the local families who serve as your tour guides.
14% of the Peruvian population are indigenous peoples. The largest group of the indigenous population is the Quecha people which refers to several different ethnic groups. However, all of these groups speak a language in the Quecha family.
They predominantly live in the Andean highlands and are a pastoral farming society. Known for their weaving skills, handicrafts and the traditional colorful dress are characteristic of the Quechua people.
What to Do
Learn more about Quechua culture and visit the small Andean village of Vicos. There, learn community history at the local museum. Then, have a traditional meal alongside locals. After, participate in a ceremony for Pachamama, or Mother Earth.
Most importantly, tour revenue will help preserve natural and cultural resources in the community.
4% of the Canadian population identify themselves as one of the 3 recognized indigenous groups: the Métis, Inuits and First Nations. There are over 600 First Nations communities in the country who are descendants of Canada’s original occupants.
A variety of different cultural groups make up the First Nations community. Each community has a unique culture and language. However, they all share a devotion to the environment as well as rich musical and artistic traditions.
What to Do
Visit the Mashteuiatsh Reserve in Quebec to discover Pekuakamiulnuatsh culture. First, visit the Native Museum of Mashteuiatsh. There, see authentic cultural items and artifacts of this First Nations community. Additionally, tour the reserve to see how the locals live.
Most importantly, all revenue will go towards funding education and cultural activities put on by the museum.
Tanzania has about 125 different ethnic groups, with four of those self-identifying as indigenous peoples. One of Tanzania’s indigenous groups are the Maasai, a tribe that lives in Northern Tanzania.
The Maasai people are a semi-nomadic group that live a pastoral lifestyle. Today, they reside near many of Africa’s game reserves. Consequently, they are among one of the more popular African tribes for tourists to visit.
What to Do
Go on a Tanzania bike tour to get an insight into the Maasai culture. First, start your tour with a visit to the Chemka Hot Spring, a beautiful natural swimming pool. After, spend some time with a local Maasai family. Finally, help prepare a traditional barbecue. And, even try your hand at cattle herding.
Best of all, tour revenue helps local residents get involved with sustainable tourism efforts. As a result, participation in this tour ensures money stays in local hands.
Ecuador is home to 14 indigenous groups, one of which being the Cañari people. This group calls the Cañar province in Southern Ecuador home.
The Cañari people have an incredibly preserved history. Their culture dates back to pre-Incan times. And, Cañari ruins and artifacts illustrate the daily life of these indigenous peoples.
What to Do
Discover Cañari culture as you tour Cañar. First, visit local museums to see pottery, utensils and clothing used by the Cañari people. Then, go to the Cerro Narrío archaeological site. This sacred ground was used as a cemetery.
As a result, your visit will support efforts to revitalize the Cañari heritage.
Book a social impact tour with Visit.org to help support indigenous peoples around the world!