Per(forming) authenticity: Pamela Lee’, Journey Through the Third Space: Performing Aboriginal Identity Through Historic Re-Enactment Sites’, in Lori G. Beaman, Sonia Sikka (eds), Constructions of Self and Other in Yoga, Travel, and Tourism, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, pp 19-28
Abstract: This chapter reads anthropologist Laura Peers’ Playing Ourselves (2007) through the lens of Homi Bhabha’s theory of cultural performance. Playing Ourselves showcases First Nations interpreters playing their historic ancestors in living history sites run by North American state-owned heritage agencies. This focus on First Nations performers highlights the ‘toured’ rather than the tourist, inverting our theme of the traveller to elsewhere seeking authenticity. In the cultural tourism scholarship, Aboriginal performers are generally interpreted as passive victims, forced to stereotype themselves as primitive ‘Indians’ to satisfy the tourist gaze. Through Bhabha, I follow Peers in arguing against this assumption. These performers speak as creative subjects constructing identity within the constraints of the ‘Wild West’ frontier myth, reshaping the colonial imaginary through the subterfuge of ‘play’ performances.
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