2013-2014 Colloquium Series

The Tourism Studies Working Group is pleased to announce


Estelle Brun
PhD Student, Social Geography, Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Friday, February 28, 5:30 PM
Gifford Room, 221 Kroeber Hall
University of California, Berkeley

This talk will focus on minority cultures, that of the Indians Pueblos and Navajos, through their associated heritage. The Native American sites inscribed on the World Heritage List, Chaco Culture (Chaco Canyon and Aztec Ruins) and Mesa Verde (Vth-XIVth AD), have the distinction of being attached to living cultures. Their representatives have kept memory of the sites, enlivened by the presence of their ancestors through oral traditions. With the implementation of the NAGPRA law, these heritage, also classified as National Parks, were therefore officially affiliated with existing tribes living in the Four-Corner region (Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona), giving them the role of “consultants”. These states are inhabited by populations who have rarely migrated in more than a millennium; for that reason, their numerous culturally affiliated remains and oral traditions legitimize their belonging to these territories. They are in consequence faced with multiple issues that extend far beyond the simple economic phenomenon that is associated with tourism. Thereby, addressing the euro-american’s heritage gazes on these cultures, aims to highlight the multiple dimensions of these heritage development, at every scale. In the current context of globalization, it appears that the evolution of the gazes associated to Native American heritage, is accompanied by an evolution of intercultural relations in the extended heritage territory.

This study focuses on euro-american actors, tourists and professionals associated with these heritage sites, as well as, on the Pueblo and Navajo Indians and the "different" gazes they have on their own heritage. The parallel of sites managed by various entities ( Mesa Verde / Ute Mountain Park for example) and the ideas collected during tribal meetings, serve to highlight the gazes that Native American have on heritage matters; preferring to leave these sacred sites untouched, it can enter in conflict with the euro-american vision, focused on the preservation of the remains, "no matter what". With the loss in traditional oral transmission of knowledge, a shift is observed, resulting in two gazes: one desiring to apply their cultural traditions, the other influenced by a foreign vision increasingly affecting younger generations of Pueblos and Navajos; these express the desire, as any Americans, to physically see the sites, hence the necessity to preserve them.

The ultimate purpose is to understand how heritage and the imaginary associated with it can interfere with a culture, allowing or not its cultural revitalization and the "rewriting" of its history. Indeed, beyond the physical access to a heritage, its symbolic appropriation, its imaginaries play a role as much important ; as J. Urry describes it, not only tourists travel “but also objects, cultures and images”. In the case of the Pueblos and the Navajos, the tourism development of these heritage offers the opportunity to « brake » some persistent imaginaries, to « rewrite » the known (or unknown?) history conveyed in American schools ; but more importantly, they allow each of these tribes, similar in some aspects, but with cultural and linguistic particularities, to exist independently as whole entities.

Speaker Bio:
After completing an initial formation in history, art history & archeology (masters in history/archeology & Egyptology at Paul Valery University, Montpellier & Paris IV-Sorbonne), she decided to extend her studies in a domain she considers as more “dynamic” and on topical subjects, and yet very close to her first formation: the tourism management, more specifically of cultural World Heritage sites, by means of territorial dynamics (geographical and ethnological approaches). With that objective, she graduated in Social Geography at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (IREST – master Tourism, Heritage and Environment); her master thesis, “Journey in the heart of a World Heritage. Machu Picchu sanctuary, between accessibility and appropriation” provides the basis for her current PhD research (Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), dedicated to World Heritage sites culturally affiliated to living cultures in North America, that of the Pueblos and the Navajos. The first results of her research will appear in a recently approved article by Belgeo, “Les regards des Nord-Américains portés sur les cultures pueblos et navajo à travers deux de ses sites inscrits au Patrimoine Mondial. Une histoire de cultures ou la culture de l’Histoire ? ».

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