From an international perspective there is no greater threat to Indigenous Peoples today than industrial ecotourism. The ecotourism industry creeps into the deepest recesses of culture and community life. It impacts the full spectrum of rights and is responsible for rights violations on all levels. Globally, no other industry single-handedly endangers the spiritual core of Indigenous cultures to such an extent. Tourism is now an epidemic among Indigenous Peoples, holding little or no long-term benefit locally (Abyia Yala 1999, p1). Definitions of ecotourism would have us believe otherwise. The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) says that ecotourism ‘sustains the well-being of local people’. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) call it environmentally responsible travel that provides for ‘active socio-economic involvement of local peoples’. These definitions suggest that we finally have an industry committed to ethical commerce. However, as industry grasps for new labels such as ‘sustainable’ tourism, its track record lingers to remind us of the ongoing ‘green wash’ and now ‘browning’. Indigenous Peoples are their realizing that ancestral lands have been inventoried and annexed for conventional tourism under the pretext of saving ‘biodiversity’. The ecotourism industry has made a beeline for profit inside Indigenous territories worldwide. Indigenous cultures themselves are now considered ‘up for grabs’. As a result, culture loss is pandemic. Lands held in trust under customary law ‘from time immemorial’, ‘from time out of mind’ and ‘from the Dawn of Creation’ are straining under rapid industrialization. While some

Indigenous Peoples have managed to fend off unwanted tourism or develop healthy tourism alternatives, exploitation remains industry’s recipe for profit. Consumer expectations of ‘fee for service’ relationships shape most exchanges, not local rights, interests or needs. Many of us have little compassion for this situation of Indigenous Peoples. As holiday makers we have a hard time imagining tourism as a destructive force locally. In the consumer world we make household purchases such as the next trip without significant barrier. The logic is that if we can do it, so can they. So why all the fuss by Indigenous leaders over self-determination? Why the misgivings about such an ‘easy’ and ‘light’ industry? Our consumerism and consumer attitudes are a colonial carry-over. This makes it is hard for us to see the racism within ecotourism.1 But them emulating us is the premise of ‘progress’. On one hand, there is our impulse to be voyeurs to Indigenous cultures; on the other hand, there is the assumption that Indigenous Peoples should want to be like us, in lifestyle and modes of business. Governments talk of reconciliation and capacity-building while engineering dependency. This seed of disunity was inculcated within us as children. Nursery rhymes such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Foreign Children’ taught us all about colonialism. In school, children are still fed a curriculum based on Manifest Destiny; today it is known by the euphemism of ‘economic globalization’.2