Title: Environmental conservation, tourism development and the dilemma of the indigenous Pygmy people in southeast Cameroon

Authors: Ngambouk Vitalis Pemunta; Asahngwa Constantine Tanywe; Rosaline Yumumkah Cumber

Addresses: Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Sweden ' Cameroon Centre for Evidence-Based Healthcare, BP 8803, Yaounde, Cameroon ' Department of Political Science, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Durban, 3200, South Africa

Abstract: This paper examines the implications of the paradox implicit in the conflation of Pygmies and other forest-based peoples (Bantu farmers) as a single identity group by conservationists and tourism developers. These actors share a hardened image and a single field view of the Pygmies as "people of the forest" that must paradoxically be evicted to give way for neoliberal development activities. The paper demonstrates that while Pygmies have diversified livelihood trajectories, prevailing prejudicial views about their non-contamination by the tourist and academic industry persists. As agents, the Pygmies are however, simultaneously maintaining their identity while engaging in performatic performances through which they stage their authenticity (reflective ethnicity) for their own benefits. To avoid conflicts between protected areas and people, and ensure co-management, conservationists and eco-tourism developers should take note of the co-constitution of man-nature relationships, the intersection between economic and ecological justice as well as inter-group power dynamics among multiple stakeholders in local communities.

Keywords: reflective ethnicity; sustainable tourism; sustainable development; (eco-)tourism paradox; hunter-gatherers; pygmies; indigenous people; indigenous rights.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTA.2019.107316

International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 2019 Vol.7 No.3/4, pp.181 - 217

Received: 20 Jun 2018
Accepted: 30 Jun 2019

Published online: 13 May 2020 *

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