There is no path between the several new findings relating to Inka and Pre-Colombian Andean history and the masses: descendents of these civilizations, tourists, and the general public. Andean countries lack the pride in their history to proclaim and publisize the findings, as well as to correct often spread myths. Government, scholars and the upper classes should quiver from this situations and fix it. In doing so they would improve their countires and the world would benefit.
A new discovery at Stone Hedge shakes the global media, yet the discovery of a famed Inka city hardly makes a splash in that country’s gossip. Andean countries should do more to make the research that is performed of their past accessible to the public and reclaim their culture to take credit for arts, foods, and ideas that stem from their people. By doing so they will further interest in their countries, they will add more cultural identity to their citizens, and they will add value to the world we live in.
The Andes are as rich in culture as the beloved civilizations of Europe. Research is being completed about Inka and Pre-Colombian Andean Civilizations at a higher rate than ever, but it is not reaching the masses. Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina are at peace for the first time in decades and most of these countries are experiencing an economic boom from mining. This provides resources to be devoted to research but the findings are not being publicizing and the treasures remain hidden to the world. Tens of thousands of tourists go to these Andean countries, but it is based on the same attractions as they have been since Hiram Bingham’s re-discovery of Machu Picchu and they receive the same information that has been recycled for decades. There are millions of descendants of the Inka and other Pre-Colombian cultures. These communities recite their history orally, but five centuries after conquest this information is often inaccurate. The correct information re-discovered by scientists remains out of reach to them-even when the research is performed on their land or among their neighbors.
Perform a basic search about Inka cities of Machu Picchu or the Inka capital of Cusco on the internet. Outside of the scholarly pages, the results are repetitive, or the information is out of date. Among the slew of website hits, most are advertisements from touring groups and contradictions seem to be the norm.
The modern governments, scholars, and the upper classes should scorn such mis-information and myths being spread about their cultural history: tomatoes are native to the Andes, not Italy. The history of the Irish Potato famine is incomplete without learning about potatoes in their native land of the Altiplano. The history of significance of Machu Picchu IS known.
The Andean landscape is strewn with archeological sites bathed in history; art that is unique and stands alone on the world stage and aboriginal people that maintain a resemblance to traditional ways of life. Taken in entirety, the Andes makes the “Eternal City” of Rome look like a small farm town; yet Rome attracts more people than all Pre-Colombian Andean Societies combined.
If the research and findings about these unique Andean countries was publicized correctly, I believe they could compete with Europe and North America in attracting tourists. These countries could ride the same wave of popularization that Eastern cultures have ridden over the past 50 years-they too offer a place that is an alternative for those who are tired of hamburgers, trips to the Parthenon, and over-circulated replicated art.
But no, there is hardly an organization in these countries that want to challenge the status quo, or that has the resources and talent to complete such a task. The annual and gradual rise of backpackers to the Inka Trail and one-time visitors to Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu is enough for them. They do not take enough pride in their history to take the path of publicizing it.
I know I am doing my part. This blog’s very existence is the first step in a long path at establishing an up-to-date authority on Inka and Pre-Colombian information that is easily readable, and accessible to the public in Spanish, English, Aymara, and Quechua.