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Empowering Indigenous entrepreneurs – The Globe and Mail

Mentorship program helps build cultural reclamation through tourism

If the deep snow and fallen trees make the going tough for Bear Mustus, he gives no indication. He pauses knee-deep in the fluffy snow and points skywards to a break in the trees. The newer growth of trees creates a line through the almost impenetrable bulwark of old growth black spruce. Despite the harsh weather, thick forest and trailless features, Mustus finds the old wagon trail.

“This is our land,” Mustus says with pride as he motions to the ancient trail. “We’ve been here for many generations, and the village will celebrate that.”

The land is part of a proposal between Mustus and Alberta Parks to create a traditional tipi village that would restore the site to use by the Nakota people. In a partnership with Indigenous Tourism Alberta and Catalyste+, this vision is becoming a reality through a unique mentorship program targeting Indigenous tourism companies across Alberta, one of 16 Indigenous tourism companies that are benefiting from the Catalyste+ mentorship program.

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