Whether you are traveling inside the US or another country, you must be aware of certain things when visiting indigenous communities. Technology and innovation are taking over larger cities and expanding them daily, which opens the doors for people to move because it provides more opportunities for development.
Indigenous communities live a secluded lifestyle—sometimes by choice and sometimes because it’s the only way to survive. These communities live in a very traditional way without technology and some knowledge that comes with this. Whatever your reason for visiting, remember that respect is an essential value you need to demonstrate, and you can expect a wonderful experience.
Ask for Permission
Living in a big city means you have more benefits and situations you can take for granted because those opportunities are there for you, and it’s a common practice. When you visit an indigenous community, many things have different meanings—and some are even sacred. It is important to ask before taking action on anything to avoid being disrespectful.
Do Not Bargain
Most indigenous communities sell handcrafts that are important, if not the only source of income for some families. The time and effort they spend working on those handcrafts have value, especially because those traditions have meaning and represent a culture. If you see something you like, do not bargain, and pay the full price instead. That way, the natives will appreciate and respect you.
Your phone is the easiest way to take pictures nowadays; remember that you have to ask permission to do certain things, especially when taking photographs of handcrafts. Another important thing to know is that since most indigenous communities are in rural areas, remote areas could affect your cellphone signal. To remedy that, you should take advantage whenever you get a signal—but don’t get desperate when you see zero bars.
If you are traveling to another country and want to visit unique places where you can find unique experiences, always remember that the language barrier exists. Since you are visiting the site where indigenous people live, you need to try to adapt to their ways and respect their lifestyle. Always smile; it’s an international sign of friendliness. You should also learn to say thank you in the indigenous people’s native tongue.
When visiting indigenous communities, the best thing to do is to walk everywhere you want. Usually, these communities are small developments where people walk all the time. This is perfect for sightseeing, learning how people live, and experiencing life differently. Sometimes public transportation is available, but walking will let you experience it with all your senses.