Publication Date

Spring 5-27-2017

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Dr. Teresa Healy

Abstract

Bananas are one of Costa Rica’s largest exports, along with coffee, palm oil, and cocoa. The banana plantations are large-scale, are most often run by multinational companies, and are considered to be run as enclave economies (Equal Exchange, 2016). This monoculture crop production has been globally accused of human rights abuses said to include, but not be limited to, violating the rights of indigenous people and loss in culture and tradition. For this paper, I studied the effects that large-scale agricultural corporations have on the BriBri, a matriarchal and indigenous group who live on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. As I will show in this paper, the large-scale agricultural programs are affecting the health and fertility of the women of the tribe, as well as redefining gender roles. These changes have further policy implications for the culture and livelihood of the BriBri community. The BriBri have combated many of the negative effects of the commercialization of agriculture by creating and sustaining an agrotourism business model that is helping to preserve and revitalize the BriBri culture.

Many academics have speculated on the effects of tourism on indigenous peoples and ask whether tourism tourism in indigenous communities is a promising opportunity for development or a lurking undercover threat. In this study, I examine how agrotourism influences the identity of the BriBri people, specifically the women, as well as how it encourages the revitalization of the culture, tradition, and language of the BriBri. This paper will further provide recommendations of how the BriBri can continue to preserve their culture, and how the Costa Rican government can reinforce the treaties they signed to stand with indigenous people. The BriBri model has global significance because it stands as an alternative for other indigenous groups facing similar situations, by encouraging the use of tradition, culture, and lifestyle to find solutions to their own situations.

Disciplines

Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Hospitality Administration and Management | Indian and Aboriginal Law | Indigenous Studies | Latin American Languages and Societies | Latin American Studies | Tourism and Travel | Urban, Community and Regional Planning | Women's Studies