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Identity Tourism: A Medium for Native American Stories

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This article considers identity tourism, which comprises both ethnic and heritage tourism, as a medium for the projection of ethnic and nationalist messages. Marginalized peoples acquire "spoiled" or stigmatized identities through stories that use their alleged inferiority to "explain" their position. They may counter the negative group images created through these stories by fashioning new stories of their history and culture, in an effort to set the record straight. Museums and other attractions that focus on a group's history and culture serve as a medium, in that they provide opportunities to tell a revised story and build a revalued collective identity. The analysis draws from examples of Native American heritage attractions in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia to examine the specific properties of the medium of identity tourism, and how these properties shape the messages that can be conveyed through it.
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Keywords: COLLECTIVE IDENTITY; ETHNIC MOVEMENTS; ETHNIC TOURISM; HERITAGE TOURISM; IDENTITY TOURISM; NATIONALIST MOVEMENTS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-06-01

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  • Tourism, Culture & Communication is international in its scope and will place no restrictions upon the range of cultural identities covered, other than the need to relate to tourism and hospitality. The Journal seeks to provide interdisciplinary perspectives in areas of interest that may branch away from traditionally recognized national and indigenous cultures, for example, cultural attitudes toward the management of tourists with disabilities, gender aspects of tourism, sport tourism, or age-specific tourism.
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