Visual identity and Indigenous tourism: power, authenticity, hybridity and the Osoyoos Indian Band's Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre.




Bresner, Kathryn Marie

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The tourism industry is particularly reliant on the use of imagery to create a brand for a destination or attraction in order to effectively market its product. In the case of Indigenous tourism, a paradox often exists between maintaining a level of recognition and familiarity that mirror the expectations of the public imagination, and conveying a representation that is locally meaningful and emblematic. Investigation into the visual representation and communication of identity through tourism is a means to illustrate three overlapping issues that are prevalent throughout the literature on Indigenous tourism. These are: control, authenticity, and hybridity. This research project addresses these issues through an extensive review of anthropological and tourism-related literature and its application to the specific case study of one Indigenous tourism business, the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre (NDCC), owned and operated by the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) in Osoyoos, British Columbia (BC), Canada. Semiotic and visual analyses are used to elucidate the messages about OIB identity communicated through the Centre’s visuals, in order to bring the example of the OIB and NDCC into conversation with the larger issues found within Indigenous tourism.



tourism, indigenous tourism, authenticity, hybridity, osoyoos indian band, british columbia, visual tourism, visual anthropology, semiotics