Did you know that Indigenous tourism is one of the fastest-growing sectors in Canada’s tourism industry? 2022 marks the arrival of new lodging, tours and enterprises, in addition to fresh programming. From coast to coast to coast (starting in the east), here are 22 highlighted experiences that promise to immerse guests into traditional cultural teachings with skilled Indigenous guides and knowledge keepers.
Elsipogtog Mi'kmaq Cultural Center, Elsipogtog, New Brunswick
1. Make a custom Mi'kmaq basket, experience a smudging ceremony or explore an authentically constructed wigwam, longhouse and sweat lodge at Elsipogtog Mi'kmaq Cultural Center.
2. Discover Nibiischii, meaning “Land of Water,” a breathtaking wildlife preserve of boreal forests, lakes and rivers near Mistissini. Managed by the Cree Nation, anglers and adventurers can stay in campsites, floating cabins or a prospector's camp.
3. Step into traditionally crafted mukluks and moccasins by the artisans at Atikkus Hopeboots. The company from the Innu community of Uashat Mak Mani-utenam won Company of the Year at the Indigenous Tourism Québec awards.
Ontario Wikwemikong Tourism | Indigenous Tourism Canada
4. Celebrate Indigenous culture at Madahoki Farms, the new home for a series of seasonal celebrations and the brick and mortar location of the Indigenous Marketplace. The farm recently provided refuge to four Ojibway spirit horses, the only existing breed of horse developed by Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
5. Feast on the ‘Best World Cuisine” at Kūkŭm Kitchen, soon to re-open in Toronto. Chef Joseph Shawana, the force behind the high-end Indigenous restaurant, will also be introducing a new Indigenous food festival in Toronto in the summer of 2022.
6. Walk in nature while learning about the rich and vibrant culture of the Anishinaabek People at Cape Croker Park in southern Ontario. New programming includes fire making, wilderness skills and guided hikes where visitors can learn about traditional plants or signs of wildlife.
7. This summer, witness a traditional Pow Wow – a celebration of community spirit through song, dance and cultural foods – with the people of Three Fires Confederacy on Wikwiimekong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island. Celebrating 61 years since the revitalization of their culture, the community offers a variety of tourism experiences and recently launched an online gift shop.
8. Retrace the canoe routes of the Anishnaabek People with Wikwemikong Tourism in Point Grondine Park on Manitoulin Island. Multi-day tours include Indigenous meals, traditional storytelling and accommodation at Killarney Mountain Lodge.
9. Indulge in sweet treats that showcase Indigenous ingredients from Canada and the world. Chef Tammy Maki of Raven Rising, Global Indigenous Chocolates and Pastry, uses flavours like Ontario bergamot, haskap berries, alder catkin, elderberry, wild rice, butternut and hickory to create edible art.
Brandon White Photo | Aski Holistic Adventures, Cumberland House
10. Connect with nature while travelling by canoe along the waterways of the Saskatchewan River Delta, near Cumberland House. Aski Holistic Adventures provides a variety of opportunities to get out on the land and learn about the land with a Cree/Métis guide.
11. Learn about the ancient petroglyphs recently uncovered by a roaming herd of bison at the newly expanded Wanuskewin Heritage Park in Saskatoon. Walk the new trails and explore the landscape that’s been continuously inhabited by Plains People for 6,000 years.
Warrior Women | Indigenous Tourism Alberta
12. Stay in the new, 40-room boutique lodge on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River and discover the rich history of the Métis People in Smoky Lake. Visitors to Métis Crossing can also tour the new wildlife park called Visions, Hopes and Dreams at Métis Crossing, which features sacred species including white bison and white elk. We reported about it in this article.
13. Located on 160 acres of pristine wilderness on the Kikino Métis Settlement in northern Alberta, Hideaway Adventure Grounds has officially evolved from a campsite to a wilderness retreat with a variety of Indigenous education and awareness packages. New packages include things like plant knowledge, Indigenous life skills and leather creations. Hideaway Adventure Grounds offers Métis trapper tent camping as well as self-contained camping areas.
14. Listen to legends of the Cree People with Warrior Women, mother and daughter duo Matricia and Mackenzie Brown in Jasper. Experiences include a plant medicine walk (virtual or in-person) and a fireside chat. Visit the new online store for handmade mittens, moccasins and artwork.
Moccasin Trails | Indigenous Tourism Canada
15. Paddle the rivers near Kelowna and Kamloops with Moccasin Trails and explore the traditional territory of the Syilx and Shuswap People with a local Knowledge Keeper. Spend a couple of hours in a voyager-style canoe and discover how the people of the interior have thrived in this landscape and developed a strong connection to the water and land. New to 2022 is a five-day Indigenous Cultural Journey With People, Land, and Traditions tour which takes guests on excursions through three regions of the Thompson Okanagan: Kelowna, Kamloops and Osoyoos. This trip will depart twice each month from May through October.
16. Ride across the traditional territories of the Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation with a stay at Big Bar Guest Ranch. Traditional Indigenous experiences are interwoven with the day-to-day ranch life of a wrangler at this ranch located in Clinton.
17. Explore Songhees culture in Victoria. Sample a salmon bannock burger from the food truck, purchase traditional or contemporary art or take a walking or canoe tour with a Songhees cultural guide.
18. Spot whales and grizzly bears while learning about the Indigenous culture of the Kwakwaka’wakw People, who have resided in the islands off of Campbell River since time immemorial. Coastal Rainforest Safaris will expand its day-trip offerings with the opening of a cultural wilderness camp in 2022.
19. Visit the traditional territory of the Homalco First Nation in Bute Inlet with Homalco Wildlife and Cultural Tours. The 20-year-old company is opening the new Homalco Adventure Centre in Campbell River, launching two new tour vessels and introducing a new "Whales, Wildlife and Culture" tour.
NunavutArctic Bay Adventures | Indigenous Tourism Canada
20. Craft an igloo in Arctic Bay, Nunavut and discover the skills it takes to make a home out of snow and ice with Inuit People. Learn how to travel across the landscape by dogsled, catch fish and get to know your Inuit hosts at Arctic Bay Adventures.
Aurora Village | Indigenous Tourism Canada
21. Promote healing at Aurora Village which has transformed into a wellness centre that uses Dene values and traditions to help guests heal from traumatic experiences including residential schools or the Sixties Scoop.
YFNCT | Adäka Cultural Festival
22. Revel in the creative spirit of the Yukon First Nations People at the 2022 Adäka Cultural Festival, June 30 to July 7 at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre in Whitehorse. Take part in hands-on workshops exploring skills including wood and antler carving, painting, beading, moose hair tufting, knife and birch bark basket making.
Travellers within Canada may be subject to provincial, territorial and local public health measures. There are also unique challenges and considerations for Indigenous communities and businesses when deciding how and when to re-open to visitors. Be sure to check the status of each business for all health and safety measures including road closures before travelling using the ITAC map and enquiry directly.
To book one of these experiences or to dream about them later, visit destinationindigenous.ca.
Disclaimer: This curated list was supplied by the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada.