The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC), in partnership with Destination Canada and the Embassy of Canada in Germany, in Berlin, illuminated a spotlight on Indigenous cultures, traditions, and stories in Berlin, Germany. The largest Indigenous delegation hosted at a Canadian Embassy in Europe ever November 8, 2023, was designed to bring a taste of Indigenous tourism to Germany, providing a one-of-a-kind opportunity to immerse in authentic, unforgettable, and enriching experiences offered by Indigenous tourism operators from Canada. Beyond its immersive experiences, the event aimed to heighten awareness and foster a deeper appreciation of Indigenous tourism.
Diplomatic Representatives and Media Representation
The showcase’s impact extended far and wide; a warm Meet and Greet and a gracious welcome was extended by Evelyne Coulombe, the Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Canada in Germany, and the showcase drew participation from 50 German tour operators and 30 German media representatives. This representation marks the burgeoning interest and growing recognition of Indigenous tourism in Canada, solidifying its position on the global tourism stage.
Indigenous Culture Comes to Berlin
The evening’s culinary journey was crafted by the esteemed Chef Joseph Shawana, presenting a tempting array of Indigenous-inspired dishes:
– Smoked Duck Breast with Cherry Gastrique
– Wild Mushroom and Sunchoke Wild Rice Arancini
– Perch Fishcakes with Wild Ramp Aioli
– Minomin (Wild rice in Ojibway)
– Smoked Quail with Candied Plums and Dandelion Greens
– Candied Maple and Puffed Wild Rice Granola
– Baked Saskatoon Berry Bannock Topped with Mexican Vanilla Cream
Celebrating Authentic Indigenous Experiences:
Emcee Cohen Bradley ran the showcase, which presented a rich tapestry of entertainment; cultural performance by the Kehewin Native Dance Theatre, and evocative storytelling by Chyanne Trenholm of Homalco Wildlife and Cultural Tours who is from Campbell River, BC, as well as Luke Wassegijig of Wikwemikong Tourism in Ontario. Inuit throat singers Sandy Emudluk and Janice Parsons from Kuujjuaq in Nunavik, QC, captured the audience with enchanting vocals. The talented carver Tlehpik Hjalmer Wenstob of Cedar House Gallery showcased his extraordinary artistic skills; He shared a song and demonstrated his artistic talent through a carving demonstration during the event. All took centre stage.
The event welcomed two other outstanding Indigenous tourism experiences and members of their teams:
- Leon Hunter from Métis Crossing, situated in Smokey Lake, Alberta.
- Chris Tait from Klahoose Wilderness Resort in Desolation Sound, British Columbia.
These representatives offered a glimpse into their unique offerings, showcasing the diversity and richness of Indigenous tourism in Canada.
Gratitude for Partners and Sponsors
The success of ITAC’s Indigenous Showcase Event would not have been possible without the dedicated support of key partners and sponsors. A heartfelt thank you goes out to:
- The Embassy of Canada
- Destination Canada
- Canada’s Alberta
- Destination British Columbia
- Bonjour Quebec
- Tourism Saskatchewan
Their commitment to reconciliation and growth in the Indigenous tourism sector shines brightly through their sponsorship.
The Indigenous Tourism Team Canada played a pivotal role in bringing a taste of Indigenous tourism to Germany. The event would not have been possible without their continued collaboration and dedication, which includes:
- Indigenous Culinary of Associated Nations
- Indigenous Tourism BC
- Indigenous Tourism Alberta
- Indigenous Destinations Saskatchewan
- Indigenous Tourism Manitoba
- Indigenous Tourism Quebec
- Nunavik Tourism
Honouring ITAC’s Provincial and Territorial Partners:
The event also provided a platform for leaders of the association’s Indigenous Provincial and Territorial Partners to share an introduction to their association.
- Dana Schoahs from Indigenous Tourism BC
- Shae Bird from Indigenous Tourism Alberta
- Annie Charles from Indigenous Destinations Saskatchewan
- Holly Courchene from Indigenous Tourism Manitoba
The Indigenous Showcase Event was a resounding success, symbolizing a harmonious blend of cultures and traditions. It celebrated the rich, authentic Indigenous experiences Canada offers and took a significant step toward fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation between cultures worldwide. As we look to the future, ITAC’s vision of Canada becoming a global leader in Indigenous tourism seems closer than ever. These events are crucial in increasing interest in Indigenous tourism among critical stakeholders.