Indigenous Tourism: Opportunities And Experiences in Prestige Communities

Indigenous tourism is growing in BC! What is Indigenous tourism? It is tourism businesses that are majority owned, operated and/or controlled by First Nations, Metis, or Inuit people. Indigenous tourism demonstrates connection and responsibility to local Indigenous communities.

In Canada June is National Indigenous History Month and June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples Day. 2021 was eye opening for many Canadians, who may not have known our country’s history with our Indigenous Peoples.

While National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day should be a celebration of culture, people, and community, it should also be a time for reflection, remorse, and most importantly, education. We are very lucky that many of our communities have resources and experiences available to learn about our many unique Indigenous communities. In fact, we’ve gathered some of them here for your convenience! Here is a list of Indigenous tourism opportunities and experiences in Prestige communities.

Photo from the Kalamalka Indigenous Garden

The Thompson Okanagan:

Sncewips Heritage Museum Mission – The Sncewips Heritage Museum is in West Kelowna and allows the public to experience the collections, histories, and oral stories of the syilx people.

Okanagan Heritage Museum – The Okanagan Heritage Museum in Kelowna has a permanent collection that showcases Indigenous history and culture. Step into the word of the syilx/Okanagan people and gain insight into their close connection to the land.

Moccasin Trails – You and your guide will learn together while you journey through the land! Tours are available in West Kelowna (on land) and Kamloops (they offer a walking tour as well as a canoe tour!).

Indigenous World Winery – BC’s only 100% Indigenous-owned winery is located in West Kelowna! Experience world-class VQA wines while taking in some beautiful Okanagan Lake views.

Kekuli Café – Don’t panic… they have Bannock! Experience the welcoming feel and enjoy a good cup of coffee, fresh food and Bannock! With locations in West Kelowna, Merritt, and soon Kamloops!

K’nmaĺka Sәnqâĺten (Kalamalka Garden) – Overlooking beautiful Kalamalka Lake in Vernon BC, Kalamaka Garden showcases traditional Syilx plants, medicine, foods, C’aptikwl, and ceremony through inclusive community tours and experiential learning.

Kamloops Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration – Join us on June 21st at the Tk̓emlúps Powwow Arbour for an evening of family fun! The event will have activities, food, vendors, artisans, and Indigenous hypnotist Scott Ward.

Kamloopa Powwow – The Kamloops Powwow Society will be hosting the annual Kamloopa Powwow on July 29-31. The Kamloopa Powwow is one of the largest celebrations of First Nations’ culture and heritage in Western Canada.

Ktunaxa Nation

Kootenay Rockies:

Ktunaxa Interpretive Centre (9.4 km from Cranbrook) – Operated by the Ktunaxa Nation Council, the Interpretive Centre is where the Ktunaxa people come together to share heritage, mythology, and culture.

Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History – The Nelson Museum has a permanent exhibition called First People, First Culture, First Land: an introduction to the Sinixt and Ktunaxa nations, cultures and perspectives.

Ainsworth Hot Springs (48 km from Nelson) – Owned by the Lower Kootenay Band of Creston, the hot springs have long been special to the Ktuanaxa and are utilized as a place for healing.

Rossland Museum – On June 21st you are invited to stop by the Rossland Museum and check out a new traditional names map created by the Autonomous Sinixt!

Thunderbird Park at the Royal BC Museum

The Island:

National Indigenous Peoples Day 2022 (40 km from Sooke) – Come to Royal Roads University on June 21st and partake in Victoria’s National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration. With a canoe challenge, Indigenous artists and musicians, field games, guided nature walks, and food trucks, there really is something for everyone.

Royal BC Museum (40 km from Sooke) – Thunderbird Park at the Royal BC Museum has an incredible display of totem poles.

The Royal BC Museum is also home to the Native Plant Garden. Many of these trees, shrubs, and herbaceous species were widely used by First Nations of the region.

Artifact from the Museum of Northern BC

Northern BC:

Museum of Northern BC – The Museum of Northern BC, in Prince Rupert has permanent exhibitions and art galleries that show case Indigenous history and work.

Widzin Kwah Diyik Be Yikh (Widzin Kwah Canyon House Museum) (32 km from Smithers) – Open to the public May – Sept, 9 am – 5pm. Through the stories, photographs, writings, artifacts, and recently excavated stone tools, you’ll see the development of the Witsuwit’en people.

The Museum is just up the stairs from Widzin Kwah Canyon where you can see traditional fishermen in action!

National Indigenous People’s Day in Prince George – The Lheidli T’enneh First Nation will be hosting a National Indigenous People’s Day celebration once again! It will feature drumming, singing, Elders stories, displays, kids activities, and food!

Unable to attend any in person opportunities? There are plenty of online resource available too! The Canadian Government has a collection of free online courses you can find here. There is also an Indigenous Canada course offered for free online by the University of Alberta. You can find a list of Indigenous books here.

We hope everyone takes the time this month to learn something new!

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