I'd like to share something that I came across in the Batak Visitor Center. It's the code of conduct for visiting ethnic villages. I think that all visitors should read these friendly reminders before spending time with indigenous people.
- Treat the tribes as your equal.
- Observe and learn about the tribe's way of life and be open-minded.
- Be friendly as you mingle. Avoid showing extreme emotions.
- Ask permission before taking photos and avoid portraying them in a different light.
- Buy the stuff that they make. You help them in more ways than one.
- If you feel that it's necessary to give gifts to the tribe, choose the items wisely.
- Respect the tribe's environment. Leave it the way that you found it.
- Minimize modern influences so that their ethnic identity won't be lost.
- Bring everything that you'll need. Tribes don't have much to share.
- Be sensitive to how they respond to you.