Anthropology

How ayahuasca tourism jeopardizes traditional medicine

He warns against unrealistic expectations and charlatans who claim to perform miracle cures. “Someone is missing an arm and thinks the shaman will give them an arm, or they’re blind and think the shaman can restore their sight,” he says.

Although the question of whether outsiders are appropriating and changing a traditional practice for profit inevitably arises, Fotiou says the use of ayahuasca by foreign tourists is just the most recent form of a long history of sharing between cultures. “The exchange shouldn’t be seen as problematic,” says Fotiou, since people have been exchanging things like plant knowledge “forever.” More problematic, she says, is the power difference between the visitors and the local people. “The visitors are more privileged, in every sense.” Foreign tourists have the means to travel to exotic destinations for leisure; local shamans or employees at lodges may not even earn minimum wage.

Original Article (Independent):
How Ayahuasca Tourism Jeopardizes Traditional Medicine
Artwork Fair Use: Jürgi-würgi

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