Preserving the cultural identity of indigenous peoples through the production of traditional crafts is an important form of self-expression and their customs. Fair trade generates more favourable trading conditions for artists and native communities by promoting sustainable activities.
Consumer responsibility is a new concept that incorporates the ethical dimension of human consumption. It represents the other side of fair trade because fair trade will not function without the presence of conscious consumers who are willing and able to recognize the true value of the products they are consuming.
Fair-trade practice is rooted in market-based principles which help establish a fair consumer price, a reasonable taxation rate, and an equitable share of profits for the artists and the production chain at the source.
It helps artists gain self esteem by teaching them the skills necessary to become wage earners, and thus contribute to the economic development of their communities, and gain respect as artists and artisans.
The network encourages artists and shoppers alike to acknowledge a moral commitment to fair trade and ethical shopping and reflect on pre-colonial systems that were historically honoured in trade between indigenous tribes and visitors.
I came upon Arte y Esperanza, which translates as “Art and hope”, a fair trade company that promotes and retails arts, crafts and clothing in support of Argentina’s indigenous artists and communities.
Each individual artisan or small communal groups can choose to create different types of handiwork or crafts that will best express their aboriginal heritage. Oftentimes they are produced locally, and then delivered to bigger cities where they are retailed.
Even so, the production is often on a very small-scale, typically in agreement with the point of sale, such as small souvenir shops, and specialty boutiques.
The partnerships can also help support the recognition of indigenous people, cultivate solidarity between them and the public, and generate stronger sponsorship for the fulfillment of indigenous rights that contributes to the greater multiethnic and multicultural society.