Native American communities and community development: The case of Navajo nation

Christine Buzinde, Vanessa Vandever, Gyan Nyaupane

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


Communities worldwide are constantly imagining unique, innovative, culturally relevant, economically equitable, and environmentally safe community development ideas (see Buzinde and Mair, 2016; Timothy, 2002; Richards and Hall, 2003). Numerous community development success stories abound, but so do the failures. Arguably, the best practices are often characterized by wellthought-out processes that harness the collaborative power and expertise of local leaders and organizations, as well as external agencies such as universities to accomplish goals of import to the community. If well-organized, the collaborative dynamics that characterize coalitions comprised of various community representatives and outside experts can foster empowerment for members of the partnership and contribute to capacity building. It is however important to note that bottom-up approaches to community development that are led by various local experts are likely to yield more sustaining outcomes in comparison to topdown approaches to development that have little or no local involvement (Buzinde, Kalavar and Melubo, 2014; Mair, Reid and George, 2005). Scholars have highlighted ways in which Indigenous knowledge augurs well for development studies and environmental conservation (see Brokensha, Warren and Werner, 1980; Brush and Stabinsky, 1996). The focus of this research has generally been on the value and relevance of Indigenous knowledge (see Semali and Kincheloe, 2002); the development approaches that can be beneficial for Indigenous communities (see Briggs, 2008); and the creation of awareness about Indigenous issues particularly within policy-related contexts (see Lalonde, 1991). Tourism scholars have also contributed to this body of literature by addressing host and/or guest related issues (see Butler and Hinch, 2007; Dyer, Aberdeen and Schuler, 2003; Johnston, 2000; Smith, 1996). According to Agrawal (2002), this recent research on Indigenous knowledge has been paralleled by the "valorization of allied social and conceptual formations such as community, locality, and subalternity" (Agrawal, 2002, p. 287). Such developments have opened forums within which to learn from the traditionally silenced voices of the margins, particularly those of Indigenous groups (Spivak, 1988).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPerforming Cultural Tourism
Subtitle of host publicationCommunities, Tourists and Creative Practices
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781351703901
ISBN (Print)9781138041424
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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