ITAC Board of Directors

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  • Brenda Holder

    Chair

    Alberta
    Organization:
    Mahikan Trails
    Website:
    www.mahikan.ca

    Brenda follows her lineage as a traditional Métis guide from the Kwarakwante and Aseniwuche Winewak of Jasper/Grand Cache and a descendant from the Michel First Nation. Brenda is a Professional Interpretive guide with the Interpretive Guide’s Association and is an active advocate of Aboriginal Tourism through her company Mahikan Trails.

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  • Dave Laveau

    Vice-Chair

    Quebec
    Organization:
    Tourism Autochtone
    Website:
    www.tourismeautochtone.com

    Dave Laveau is the Executive Director of Quebec Aboriginal Tourism, an organization that is charged with safeguarding the interest of Aboriginal tourism companies by providing them with products and services to stimulate growth, best practices, and market visibility. Québec Aboriginal Tourism represents more than 110 active, associate and delegate members involved in the core development of Aboriginal tourism in Québec.

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  • Brady Smith

    Treasurer

    British Columbia
    Organization:
    Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre
    Website:
    www.slcc.ca

    Brady Smith is a long time whistler resident, married with two children. Brady is the Executive Director of the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, a museum and heritage centre in Whistler, British Columbia owned and operated by the Squamish and Lil’Wat peoples, and has been in this role for three years. Brady has previously managed business and economic development for Whistler Sport Legacies and has worked senior positions at the London 2012 Olympic Games and the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Brady also dedicates his time to volunteer work through business engagement; Brady is the Vice Chair of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, and Chair of the Governance Committee.

    When not working, Brady can be found hiking, biking, skiing and fishing and spending quality time with his family.

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  • Jeff Provost

    Secretary

    Manitoba
    Organization:
    Eastside Aboriginal Sustainable Tourism Inc.
    Website:
    www.eastinc.ca

    As the Executive Director for Eastside Aboriginal Sustainable Tourism Inc., Jeff Provost proactively develops and markets Indigenous tourism related businesses and economic development programs in Manitoba and acts as an advocate for the Indigenous tourism industry in Manitoba. As a CANDO certified Professional Aboriginal Economic Developer (PAED) Provost is also the founder and Principal Consultant of Aboriginal Connects, an international consultancy with a focus on Indigenous tourism development. He is a founding member of ATAC and is also the Vice-Chair of the board of Debwendon Inc. Provost has a BA in Political Science and a Communications Certificate in Public Relations.

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  • Charlie Sark

    Director

    Prince Edward Island
    Organization:
    Indian Arts and Crafts
    Website:
    www.indianartpei.com

    Charlie Sark is a member of the Lennox Island First Nation, Epkwetk (Prince Edward Island), Mi’kamk’ik (North Eastern North America), and is the Chair of the Epekwetk Mi’kmaq Tourism Group. He grew-up in a tourism family that operates several seasonal businesses including a retail arts and craft store, ceramic figurine studio, ash-splint basket studio and a bakery. Their most recent venture is Big Charlie’s Pizza – a contemporary Mi’kmaq take on the traditional Italian pizza.

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  • Dana Soonias

    Director

    Saskatchewan
    Organization:
    Wanuskewin Heritage Park
    Website:
    www.wanuskewin.com

    Dana Soonias earned his Certified Aboriginal Financial Managers (CAFM) designation through AFOA Canada and his Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.d) governance designation with Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. Over the past 20 years, Dana has held senior positions with financial institutions and government. For the past eight years, he has been the CEO of Wanuskewin Heritage Park in Saskatoon where they are pursuing UNESCO World Heritage designation for the park with an elaborate multi-million-dollar renewal campaign.

    He is involved with numerous boards and committees as chair and committee member, including Past President of the AFOA of Saskatchewan; Past Chair of the National Board of AFOA Canada; St. Paul’s Hospital Board and the Crown Corporation of Tourism Saskatchewan.

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  • Gene O’Donnell

    Director

    Nunavut
    Organization:
    Artic Bay Adventures
    Website:
    www.arcticbayadventures.com

    Gene O’Donnell is the manager of Arctic Bay Adventures, based in Arctic Bay Nunavut, a unique polar tourism destination. Arctic Bay Adventures focuses on using the traditional transportation of qamutiq sleds (dogsleds) to take visitors to see the incredible wildlife that is native to Canada’s Arctic, and teaching visitors of Inuit cultural traditions that date back hundreds of years.

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  • Jillian Larkham

    Director

    Newfoundland and Labrador
    Organization:
    Director of Tourism with the Nunatsiavut Government
    Website:
    www.nunatsiavut.com

    Jillian Larkham is a beneficiary of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims agreement and was raised in Makkovik, Nunatsiavut. In 2010, she graduated from Memorial University with a Bachelor of Arts, double major in Archaeology and Folklore.

    Since then, Jillian has worked a variety of jobs with the Labrador Interpretation Centre, Nunatsiavut Government, and Them Days magazine. In 2013, she began work in the tourism department of the Nunatsiavut Government as Experience Development Officer and became the Director of Tourism with the Nunatsiavut Government in 2016. She is responsible for the experience development and marketing of tourism in the Nuntsiavut Region. Larkham is also on the Board of Directors for Destination Labrador, Them Days Magazine and Cruise NL.

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  • Kevin Eshkawkogan

    Director

    Ontario
    Organization:
    Great Spirit Circle Trail
    Website:
    www.circletrail.com

    Kevin Eshkawkogan is the CEO of Great Spirit Trail, a tourism company, composed of a hotel and conference centre located on Manitoulin Island and the Sagamok region in Northeastern Ontario, Canada. The Great Spirit Trail offers nature-based and cultural tourism from an Aboriginal perspective including adventures ranging from relaxing day trips and educational cultural workshops to wilderness eco-adventures via canoe and horseback.

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  • Kylik Kisoun Taylor

    Director

    Northwest Territories
    Organization:
    Tundra North Tours
    Website:
    www.tundranorthtours.com

    Kylik Kisoun Taylor is of Inuvialuit and Gwich’in descent, owner and operator of Tundra North Tours located in Inuvik Northwest Territories. Tundra North Tours provides Authentic Arctic Experiences connecting visitors with the land, cultures and people of the North. Kisoun believes that sharing his way of life and showcasing his culture is a way of preserving it. His love and passion for sharing his culture has helped him build Tundra North Tours to what it is today. He believes Aboriginal Tourism will play an important role in creating job and a sustainable economy for Indigenous people throughout Canada, strengthening cultural bonds and an understanding of what it means to be Indigenous.

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  • Patricia Dunnett

    Director

    New Brunswick
    Organization:
    Metepenagiag Heritage Park
    Website:
    www.metpark.ca

    Patricia Dunnet is the General Manager at Metepenagjag Heritage Park (MHP) in Metepenagiag Mi’kmaq Nation (Red Bank) New Brunswick. MHP is a state of the art facility that celebrates Mi’kmaq culture through music, oral history, exhibits, trail tours of the traditional Mi’kmaq lands and hands on cultural activities. The park’s mandate is to preserve, protect, and promote two significant National Historic sites, the Augustine Mound, and the Oxbow, both ancient and historic sites of the Mi’kmaq dating back more than 3,000 years.

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  • Robert Bernard

    Director

    Nova Scotia
    Organization:
    Wagmatcook Culture & Heritage Centre
    Website:
    www.wagmatcookcentre.com

    Robert Bernard is a Mi’kmaw business owner of a capacity building firm called Diversity Management Group (DMG) based out of We’koqma’q First Nation in beautiful Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

    Since 2006, Mr. Bernard has worked with the Wagmatcook Culture & Heritage Centre as a consultant and recently took on the role of Operations Manager and Culture & Tourism Planner for the Wagmatcook First Nation.

    In 2014, Mr. Bernard was appointed to represent Nova Scotia as one of the initial founders of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC), and moved onto the Executive Board (Secretary) in 2015. Recently Mr. Bernard played a pivotal role in bringing the 2016 International Aboriginal Tourism Conference to Membertou First Nation (Sydney, NS). As the Conference Chair and Event Manager he helped to bring together over 350 participants from around the world to this very successful and sold out event.

    In December of 2016 Mr. Bernard was also elected as the Executive Chairperson for the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ATAC) for a two (2) year term. His goal is to help deliver on the national five (5) year ATAC strategic plan with regions across Canada and to establish a Provincial and Atlantic based Aboriginal tourism organization.

    In 2017 Mr. Bernard was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS), the Nova Scotia Talent Trust Board of Directors and to the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council.

    Mr. Bernard is also a community volunteer and dedicated family man to his beautiful wife Kelly and their four wonderful children Jordynn, Kaylyn, Kassidy & Karmin.

    For more information, please visit his profile and organizational involvement at the national level at www.wagmatcookcentre.com

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  • Shirlee Frost

    Director

    Yukon
    Organization:
    Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association
    Website:
    www.yfnct.ca

    Shirlee Frost is from the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation. Originally from Old Crow, Yukon, she has lived in Whitehorse, Yukon for most of her life. Shirlee is known for her exquisite beading and advocacy work for women’s rights, land use planning and cultural revitalization. She is also passionate about creating networks and partnerships between Yukon First Nations and others who see the benefit of such partnerships. Shirlee returned from public service in 2010 after a long and distinguished career working for the Yukon Government, Council of Yukon First Nations, and the Federal Government in a variety of capacities.

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