Immerse The Family In An Indigenous Experience
Families in Alberta are being encouraged to immerse themselves in an Indigenous experience on the Family Day (Feb. 21) long weekend.
It is an opportunity to authentically educate the kids on Indigenous culture and the true history of Canada outside of a formal classroom setting by engaging with Indigenous tourism operators across the province.
Experiences are available in both cities and rural regions with one of Indigenous Tourism Alberta’s (ITA)150 members.
Land-based learning activities provide the opportunity to both physically and spiritually connect to the land through tourism experiences such as plant walks, fireside chats, stargazing and more.
Urban experiences can include visits to art galleries, restaurants or a cultural centre. Although each experience may be vastly different, Indigenous tour operators collectively aim to create a connection to both place and culture.
Shae Bird, CEO of Indigenous Tourism Alberta, said: “This Family Day long weekend is an amazing opportunity to experience the land now known as Alberta and the Peoples that have inhabited it since time immemorial. We hope that the next generation of children is raised with a deeper understanding and respect for Indigenous Peoples and their unique cultures.”
Bird pointed out that: “Over the past year, we have seen a significant increase in interest in Albertans furthering their knowledge of Indigenous cultures through tourism and we hope that in 2022 that interest can be extended to children and teens.”
For families that are looking to explore the Rockies, Joe Urie, owner of Jasper Tour Company, offers guided tours that teach children about the connection that Métis People have to the land now known as Jasper National Park.
In Kananaskis Provincial Park, Heather Black, owner of Buffalo Stone Woman, guides families along a short, kid-friendly hike while incorporating a traditional smudging ceremony, fresh herbal tea and stories from her family’s history.
Located just an hour from Edmonton, Alberta’s first interpretive Métis centre, Métis Crossing is running a series of family-friendly land-based learning activities including stargazing lead by ITA members Painted Warriors and Mahikan Trails, hide-tanning demonstrations led by the Alberta Trappers Association and Elder-lead storytelling sessions.
The Family Day weekend programming is an extension of Métis Crossing’s regular winter programs that includes traditional art workshops, wagon rides, skating, cross country skiing and wildlife tours through the new Vision, Hopes and Dreams Wildlife Park that is home to a rare herd or white bison.
For more, check out the full list of ITA members and their travel stories at www.IndigenousTourismAlberta.ca .