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Arareco

Ethnic Tourism in the Sierra Tarahumara:
A Comparison of Two Raramuri Ejidos

by Amy Elizabeth Anderson

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THESIS

Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of The University of Texas at Austin in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

The University of Texas at Austin
May 1994

Approved by the Following Supervising Committee:
William E. Doolittle
Gregory W. Knapp
Mercedes L. de Uriarte

Acknowledgments

I owe my greatest debt to Bill Doolittle who dedicated much of his valuable time to correct my drafts, share ideas, and appease my worries. His patience, good humor, and helpful anecdotes helped me bring this thesis to completion and to him I am extremely grateful.

I also thank Greg Knapp for his advice, encouragement, and reading list suggestions. Mercedes de Uriarte deserves recognition for being an early supporter of my endeavors and whose perceptive critiques have allowed me to strengthen this work. I appreciate the research suggestions and encouraging comments from both Campbell Pennington and Robert Bye. Emily Young has been a great help and deserves credit for inspiring my thesis topic and helping me outline it. Shannon Crum made the maps for this thesis, provided valuable commentary on drafts, and participated in exercises of procrastination; particularly long conversations about grad school angst and perplexing supervisors. Special thanks goes to Mike Myers for his friendship and advice, Henry Selby for his infectious enthusiasm, and Francisco Perez who kept me laughing in spite of it all.

Since 1990, I have been visiting and sometimes living in the Sierra Tarahumara of Chihuahua where I have forged many good friendships. First and foremost, I thank Padre Luis Verplancken who has shared his valuable insights and provided me with volunteer opportunities enabling me to learn more about the Raramuri. Margarita Quintero and Daniel González have been supportive of my research endeavors no matter which topic or angle I took. Michael Pablo also deserves to be recognized for his generosity in supporting me both emotionally and financially. Alejandrina, Ricardo, Lupita, and Martin have all been good friends who have given me much needed support. I also thank Blanca, Ofelia, Chepa, Elisia, Chavela, Challito, Denise, Nora, Diana, Sergio, Elia, Beatriz, Elsa, Olaya, Marisela, Gustavo, Celestino, Marcos, David, Hector, Noel, Daniel, J. Angel, Manuel, and Jose. My field research was financed with the generosity of all these people who shared their homes and families with me, expecting little or nothing in return (except a little typing, translating, baby-sitting, waitressing, and guiding). I owe them all so much.

I thank the Raramuri of Arareco, Cusarare, and others I have met throughout the Sierra especially Josefa, Lorenzo, Mariquita, Adelita, Ignacio, Rosario, Lucia, Juanita, Guadalupe, Francisco, Maria, Rosita, and many others whose names I withhold for reasons of confidentiality. So many of these culturally "shy" Raramuri were open and trusting with me and it was through their comments and complaints that I was first made aware of the complex problems associated with ethnic tourism.

Finally, I thank my parents and brothers for helping me accomplish those crucial first chapters over Christmas. I specifically thank my big brother, Andy, for Stroopwafels and Hagelslag and my little brother, Seth, for his sarcasm and good jokes.

 

April 1994
Abstract

Ethnic tourism is becoming increasingly important in the Sierra Tarahumara region of Chihuahua, Mexico as it is elsewhere in the world where indigenous people live. Raramuri residents of the neighboring ejidos of Arareco and Cusarare have taken different approaches to handling tourism. Arareco's outside-assisted project contrasts with Cusarare's inside-initiated approach in regard to four main issues: economic development, tourist attractiveness, inter-ethnic relations, and community cohesiveness. In Arareco, economic development is uneven, tourist attractiveness has declined, inter-ethnic relations between the Raramuri and mestizos have worsened, and community cohesiveness has been disrupted by the uneven distribution of benefits between the genders and locations. In contrast, Cusarare's economic development is slower and better- distributed, tourist attractiveness is maintained because of the retention of traditional lifestyle, and inter-ethnic relations are cooperative and mutually beneficial as both the mestizos and the Raramuri profit from tourism. However, the community in Cusarare is also divided but between those who welcome tourism and those who reject it. This thesis further illuminates the debate between inside and outside development strategies within the wider context of ethnic tourism.

 

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1: APPROACHES TO ETHNIC TOURISM

Ethnic Tourism
Outside-Assistance versus Inside-Initiative
Background of Projects
Issues of Comparison
Methodology
Outline of Thesis

CHAPTER 2: HISTORY OF OUTSIDE INFLUENCE

Pre-Hispanic Era
Colonial Era
Post-Colonial Era
Modern Era
Conclusion

CHAPTER 3: ISSUES OF COMPARISON

Issue I: Economic Development
Issue II: Tourist Attractiveness
Issue III: Inter-ethnic Relations
Issue IV: Community Cohesiveness
Conclusion

CHAPTER 4: ARARECO

Background
Project Description
Outside-Assistance
Four Issues
Conclusion

CHAPTER 5: CUSARARE

Background
Inside-Initiative
Four Issues
Conclusion

CHAPTER 6: COMPARISON AND CONCLUSION

Issues of Comparison: Arareco and Cusarare
Approaches to Ethnic Tourism: Inside versus Outside
Qualifying Comments and Future Research

 

 

1996 Copyright AMY ELIZABETH ANDERSON
433 Park Place, King City, CA 93930
Email: amyea_e@yahoo.com

 

Related Planeta.com Resources

g Exploring the Copper Canyon
g Exploring Chihuahua
g Eco Travels in Mexico
g Mexican Ecotourism Network

 

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