Interculturalism and socio-economic development of Indigenous islander populations: The case of the Kuna Yala
Many Indigenous islander populations in Latin America and the Caribbean have been facing high levels of poverty and widespread economic and social exclusion. Based on a case study approach, this paper proposes the concept of interculturalism as a means toward collaboration between Indigenous islander communities and non-Indigenous stakeholders, to influence the Indigenous islander communities’ socio-economic development. The study focuses on the Indigenous people of the autonomous Kuna Yala region of San Blas in Panama and explores how intercultural principles and characteristics could contribute to a cross-cultural dialogue between the Kuna people and external stakeholders, and to the socio-economic growth through tourism development in the Kuna region. Considering that certain aspects related to the Kuna culture are of a compound and complex nature, mutual trust and awareness, intercultural understanding and dialogue are critical in this process.