Date of publishing:



Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International. The Český lid provides open access to all of its content under license
Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International.


An indigenous Shuar community in Ecuador have been hosting tourists seeking retreats that feature traditional medicinal plants such as ayahuasca and tobacco. The community has provided individual ceremonies with the plants, or more complex rites such as Natemamu. Natemamu is a rite that is comprised of repetitive ceremonies lasting ten to twelve days, which involves drinking large quantities of Ayahuasca.
The author primarily focuses on: 1) the commodification of the Shuar Natemamu rite as a product that is offered on the global market; and 2) the impacts of this commercial trade on the hosts and visitors. This article is based on data collected by means of participant observation, interviews, and audio-visual documentations.
The findings imply that the introduction of western tourists to the Shuar community and its rites has contributed to processual changes to the rite and to ideational and material changes on both sides. Furthermore, the findings suggest that while the tourists experienced more ideational changes, the impact on Shuars was more material. This seems to be in accordance with the respective expectations of the encounter of both groups.


Ayahuasca, rite, commodification, tradition, ethno-tourism, exchange

Article Text


Bennett, Bradley – Baker, Marc – Andrade, Patricia. 2002. Ethnobotany of the Shuar of Eastern Ecuador. Advances in Economic Botany 14. New York: New York Botanical Garden Press: 1–299.
Bernard, H. Russell. 2017. Research methods in anthropology: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
Biondich, Amy – Joslin, Jeremy. 2016. Coca: the history and medical significance of an ancient Andean tradition. Emergency medicine international: 1–15.
Bouso, José – Riba, Jordi. 2014. Ayahuasca and the Treatment of Drug Addiction. In: The Therapeutic Use of Ayahuasca. Berlin – Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg: 95–109.
Dobkin de Rios, Marlene – Rumrrill, Róger. 2009. A hallucinogenic tea, laced with controversy. Ayahuasca in the Amazon and the United States. Westport: Praeger Publisher.
Dos Santos, Rafael – Balthazar, Fernanda – Bouso, José – Hallak, Jaime. 2016a. The current state of research on ayahuasca: a systematic review of human studies assessing psychiatric symptoms, neuropsychological functioning, and neuroimaging. Journal of Psychopharmacology 30, 12: 1230–1247.
Dos Santos, Rafael – Osório, Flávia – Crippa, José – Hallak, Jaime. 2016b. Antidepressive and anxiolytic effects of ayahuasca: a systematic literature review of animal and human studies. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria 38, 1: 65–72.
DMT Hallucinogen. 2019. In: Encyclopaedia Britannica [online]. [2019-10-1]. Retrieved from:
Eliade, Mircea. 2004. Shamanism: Archaic techniques of ecstasy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Fotiou, Evgenia. 2016. The Globalization of Ayahuasca Shamanism and the Erasure of Indigenous Shamanism. Anthropology of Consciousness 27, 2: 151–179.
Harner, Michael. 1972. The Jívaro, people of the sacred waterfalls. Garden City, N.Y.: Published for the American Museum of Natural History [by] Doubleday/Natural History.
Horák, Miroslav. 2019. Ayahuasca in the Czech Republic. Brno: Mendel University in Brno.
Instituto nacional de estadística y censos. 2010 [online]. Demografia Indigenas. [2019-10-1]. Retrieved from:
Chhabra, Deepak – Healy, Robert – Sills, Erin. 2003. Staged authenticity and heritage tourism. Annals of tourism research 30, 3: 702–719.
Jackson, Peter. 1999. Commodity cultures: the traffic in things. Transactions of the institute of British Geographers 24, 1: 95–108.
Johnson, Greg. 2008. Authenticity, invention, articulation: Theorizing contemporary Hawaiian traditions from the outside. Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 20, 3: 243–258.
Konopíková, Michaela – Soukup, Martin. 2014. Anthropology of Tourism: From Morocco to Papua New Guinea. Anthropologia Integra 5, 2: 35–47.
Krech, Shepard. 1999. The ecological Indian: Myth and history. New York: WW Norton & Company.
Laufer, Berthold. 1917. Origin of the Word Shaman. American Anthropologist 19, 3: 361–371.
Luna, Luis. 2011. Indigenous and mestizo use of ayahuasca: an overview. In: Dos Santos, Rafael (ed.): The Ethnopharmacology of Ayahuasca. Kerala: Transworld Research Network: 1–22.
Mabit, Jacques. 2007. Ayahuasca in the treatment of addictions. Psychedelic medicine: New evidence for hallucinogenic substances as treatments 2: 87–105.
MacCannell, Dean. 1976. The tourist: a new theory of the new leisure class. New York: Schochel Books.
MacCannell, Dean. 1973. Staged authenticity: Arrangements of social space in tourist settings. American journal of Sociology 79, 3: 589–603.
Nash, Dennison. 1996. Anthropology of tourism. Oxford: Pergamon.
Nash, June. 2000. Global integration and the commodification of culture. Ethnology 39, 2: 129–131.
Norberg-Hodge, Helena. 2000. Ancient futures: learning from Ladakh. London: Random House.
OECD. 1994. Tourism strategies and rural development. Paris: Organisation for economic cooperation and development.
Ogunbodede, Olabode – McCombs, Douglas – Trout, Keeper – Daley, Paul – Terry, Martin. 2010. New mescaline concentrations from 14 taxa/cultivars of Echinopsis spp. (Cactaceae) (“San Pedro”) and their relevance to shamanic practice. Journal of ethnopharmacology 131, 2: 356–362.
Pellizzaro, Siro – Náwech, Fausto. 2005. Chicham: diccionario shuar-castellano. Quito: Abya Yala.
Pratt, Christina. 2007. An encyclopedia of shamanism. Vol. 2. New York: Rosen Pub. Group.
Rubenstein, Steven. 2001. Colonialism, the Shuar Federation, and the Ecuadorian state. Environment and planning D: Society and Space 19, 3: 263–293.
Said, Edward. 1989. Representing the colonized: Anthropology’s interlocutors. Critical inquiry 15, 2: 205–225.
Santa, Edieser – Tiatco, Anril. 2019. Tourism, heritage and cultural performance: Developing a modality of heritage tourism. Tourism Management Perspectives 31: 301–309.
Selka, Stephen. 2007. Mediated Authenticity: Tradition, Modernity, and Postmodernity in Brazilian Candombléé. Nova Religio: the Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 11, 1: 5–30.
Schiller, Nina. 2010. A global perspective on transnational migration: Theorising migration without methodological nationalism. In: Bauböck, Rainer – Faist, Thomas (eds.): Diaspora and transnationalism: concepts, theories and methods. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
Smith, Valene (ed.). 2012. Hosts and guests: The anthropology of tourism. Philadephia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Sorensen, Clark. 2018. Worshiping the Goddesses of P’albong Mountain: Regional Variation, Authenticity, and Tradition. Acta Koreana 21, 2: 371–394.
Stronza, Amanda. 2001. Anthropology of tourism: Forging new ground for ecotourism and other alternatives. Annual review of anthropology 30, 1: 261–283.
Taylor, John. P. 2001. Authenticity and sincerity in tourism. Annals of tourism research 28, 1: 7–26.
Trichter, Stephen. 2010. Ayahuasca beyond the Amazon: the benefits and risks of a spreading tradition. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology 42, 2: 131–148.
Tupper, Kenneth. 2008. The globalization of ayahuasca: Harm reduction or benefit maximization? International Journal of Drug Policy 19, 4: 297–303.
Turner, Victor. 1974. Liminal to liminoid, in play, flow, and ritual: an essay in comparative symbology. Rice Institute Pamphlet-Rice University Studies 60, 3: 53–92.
Wang, Ning. 1999. Rethinking authenticity in tourism experience. Annals of tourism research 26, 2: 349–370.
Wernitznig, Dagmar. 2003. Going native or going naive? White shamanism and the neo-noble savage. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America.