Them eating our food (on food sovereignty): Ann Allen, ‘Indigenous Self-Determination and the Culinary Tourist’, Tourism Culture & Communication, 17, 2, 2017, pp. 131-136


Abstract: Some contrasting views exist about the prospective benefits of contemporary food tourism for indigenous communities. Some commentators view food tourism as a potential mechanism for reducing tourist stereotyping, bias, and negative images. Increased economic opportunities, employment, and development are commonly cited as potential benefits. However, critics have viewed these same experiences as a colonial revival. An unquestioned assumption that the food traditions, dishes, and cuisines of (usually economically and culturally marginal) indigenous populations should be available and presented for consumption evokes the colonial legacy. These colonial type assumptions, images, and experiences are being challenged deliberately and in a targeted manner. An increasing number of indigenous communities, including the New Zealand Māori, have chosen to rearticulate and re-present their culture in the context of the postcolonial period. For contemporary indigenous people, the culinary cultural field is often wider than simply supplying the touristically “exotic” or “authentic.” It may provide a location to engage with various strategies for indigenous self-determination and the reappropriation of cultural capital. Such strategies may lead to outcomes catering to culinary tourist demands. Tourists seeking out Māori food will have difficultly gaining access, except in the case of the Wharekai (the Māori social space and part of the Marae meeting complex). This research note considers the relationship between the postcolonial legacy, culinary tourism, and indigenous selfdetermination, as it applies to first nation peoples’ foodways, and specifically to the Māori. In doing so, it may contribute to developing new perspectives on food tourism and indigenous self-determination. 

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