The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) and Destination Indigenous are offering ways to learn about the rich history of local Indigenous culture while on a road trip.
Avid travellers, the Wager family documented their three-day journey through rural and urban settings, including paddling the Humber River with Oceah Oceah, a SUP paddling, SUP yoga and tour company run by Indigenous sisters Jenifer and Sharon Rudski.
Their itinerary also includes visiting Canada’s largest Indigenous community, Six Nations, home to nearly 30,000 members of the Iroquois Nations, including the Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca and Tuscarora.
(Check it out by going to https://destinationindigenous.ca/blog/escape-from-home-ontario/ )
A favourite escape for many in Ontario is Manitoulin Island, and the new Manitoulin Hotel & Conference Centre, which is located on the North Channel of Lake Huron. The modern accommodations are complemented by experiences, which celebrate long standing authentic Indigenous traditions.
Keith Henry, ITAC’s president and CEO, observed: “Ontario boosts the largest selection of Indigenous experiences in the country. It is exciting to see young entrepreneurs like the Rudski sisters celebrate their culture with modern activities along with new hotel experiences gaining attention as people across the province explore their backyard.”
For those travellers looking to escape in other provinces, unique dining and accommodation options offered by Indigenous operators combine the best of both worlds; the opportunity to relax in comfort while being inspired by Indigenous art, food and storytelling.
Some examples include:
- St. Eugene Resort and Casino – here guests can live, learn and explore the Ktunaxa Nation Culture at St. Eugene Golf Resort Casino, within their traditional territory in the heart of the East Kootenay Region. Located just five minutes away from the Canadian Rockies International Airport, the resort offers 125 rooms and suites within what was once a residential school. There is also a full service spa and pool, the Casino of the Rockies, a championship golf course, three restaurants, and a riverside RV Park.
- Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort – Located in a remote and rugged corner of the Cariboo region in BC, this Indigenous-owned and operated luxury wilderness resort is renowned for delivering world-class outdoor experiences for adventure seekers of all types. The award winning ranch-resort comes with rustic, yet refined, touches — all meticulously intertwined with Secwepemc Culture and history.
- Grey Eagle Resort and Casino & Little Chief Restaurant – This Vegas-style resort and casino has been known to host world-class acts such as Diana Ross and Jay Leno in the past but its biggest draw is its celebration of Indigenous cuisine, art and culture, right on the doorstep of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
- Stoney Nakoda Resort and Casino – For families, this resort offers a vibrant combination of affordable comfort, premier casino gaming and family-friendly adventure with first-class service and warm hospitality in Kananaskis country. Surrounded by stunning views, this mountain resort playground offers countless amenities, including an exhilarating pool, hot tub and waterslide, family-friendly dining and sports lounge.
- Pei Pei Chei Ow – Inspired by the land, life and seasons that surround us, Indigenous ways of cooking outdoors and by the Indigenous way of Mino-Pimatisiwin, Pei Pei Chei Ow explores the concept of Indigenous food in today’s society, as well as the impact of colonialism on the Indigenous food system and contemporary culture. Using a variety of both traditional and Western ingredients, Pei Pei Chei Ow caters to public and private events, as well as hosts specialty dinners, educational events and food experiences that tell a story. Apart from elaborate and customized menus, a general catering menu is available for order year-round.
- Feast Café Bistro – Feast Cafe Bistro is the first of its kind in Manitoba; serving modern dishes rooted in traditional Indigenous ingredients. We wanted to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere while connecting our guests with the rich Culture and history of Indigenous Peoples in our province. This contemporary 50-seat restaurant is at the heart of Winnipeg’s Historic West End neighbourhood, and allows visitors to connect with the rich culture and history of the Indigenous people across Manitoba.
- Aurora Inn – This family owned and operated Inn is located in Churchill Manitoba, best known for polar bear safaris in the fall, bird watching and beluga whale viewing on the Churchill River during the summer time, as well as Dog Sledding Tours and Northern Lights Viewing in the winter.
- Hébergement Aux Cinq Sens – This unique resort is located in a Huron-Wendat village that was named the world’s first International Dark Sky Reserve — famous also for the popular Summit Drive, a 193-kilometre route characterized by breath-catching panoramic views of mountains, lakes and a thrilling, star-studded night-time sky. A double hammock strung in the forest, just steps from Lake Mégantic, is the ultimate spot to relax or stargaze while at the resort. And the views from any one of the property’s five yurts, are what draw visitors back. From the Sight Yurt with its star finder that encourages guests to “see beyond” to the Smell and Touch Yurts with their rich selection of essential and massage oils to arouse body and soul, visitors can enjoy a profound sensory experience during their time at this unique operation.
- Kisik Ridge – This Nova Scotia mountaintop home with an ocean view, features farm-to-table dinners and a cozy but modern farmstay on the Bay of Fundy. Some say Kisik Ridge has a spirit of its own. Guests are invited to be in the moment. Owners Ray Bear and Saronn Pov are two chefs who bought Kisik Ridge to get closer to the land, and experience the whole process of the food cycle, searching for the true meaning of “farm to table.”
Said Henry: “Indigenous Peoples have been living on this land for thousands of years, and we’re proud to extend our legendary hospitality to visitors. Whether guests are looking for the comfort of an Indigenous-owned and operated resort hotel, the adventure of sleeping in a yurt or traditional teepee, or a fun leisure activity, the options offered by Indigenous tourism operators continue to grow.”