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Establishment of The Indigenous Cultural Integrity Advisory Committee

Press Release

December 21, 2022 – Indigenous Tourism Ontario is pleased to announce the establishment of the Indigenous Cultural Integrity Advisory Committee to support the respectful growth of Indigenous tourism in Ontario.

Today, the day of the Winter Solstice marks not just the shortest day of the year but also an opportunity to reflect on the past and look forward to longer days and the future. During this time of renewal, Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) welcomes 14 Knowledge Keepers to ensure the industry is equipped with culturally respectful tools and resources to conduct business in a responsible manner.

ITO knows that when developed sustainably, Indigenous tourism can be a powerful vehicle for improving the socio-economic conditions of Indigenous people while building a greater understanding and relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Across the province, over 400 Indigenous ITO members look to enhance existing products; develop new products; and market & promote their offerings. Through one-on-one support with entrepreneurs, business owners and community members, ITO is taking the necessary steps to build the Indigenous tourism industry in a responsible manner.

By establishing the Indigenous Cultural Integrity Advisory Group, ITO will rely on these diverse Indigenous peoples from across Ontario to guide our work.

“We are extremely excited to engage this group of outstanding individuals. They will be focused on developing, implementing, and maintaining broad and inclusive Indigenous cultural integrity guidelines applicable to all aspects of tourism operations, engagements, and practices. Their work will be reflective of the nations in Ontario and will lead with a Indigenous-led grassroots approach.” Kevin Eshkawkogan, President & CEO, Indigenous Tourism Ontario

The goal of the guidelines is to protect the knowledge, values, beliefs, and traditions of all Indigenous Peoples in Ontario while developing tourism initiatives that are in high demand. As the wider tourism industry looks to build partnerships and help develop Indigenous tourism products, these guidelines will help to prevent cultural appropriation and exploitation of Indigenous cultures in tourism.

After extensive outreach and careful consideration, ITO is ecstatic to announce the Indigenous Cultural Authenticity Advisory Committee Members. With a plethora of expertise in Indigenous history, knowledge, teachings, and practices, the Committee’s commitment to preserving Indigenous culture and traditions are invaluable to the Indigenous tourism industry and will allow ITO, and the industry, to maintain integrity in the development and delivery of culturally authentic tourism.

Indigenous Cultural Integrity Committee Members

Tyler French, Chippewas Of The Thames
Jaquie Jamieson, Six Nations of the Grand River
Beatrice (Bea) Johnson Tarbell, Akwesasne
Dominic Beaudry, Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory
Perry McLeod-Shabogesic, Nipissing First Nation
Neda Debassige, M’Chigeeng First Nation
Josh Eshkawkogan, Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory
Quinn Meawasige, Serpent River First Nation
Sam Manitowabi, Lac Seul First Nation
Michelle Savoie, Métis Nation of Ontario
Laurie McLeod-Shabogesic, Nipissing First Nation
Tim McGregor, Whitefish River First Nation
David R. Maracle, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory
Dorothy French, Chippewas Of The Thames

“Ensuring we maintain the integrity of our culture while engaging in business is critical to moving forward in a positive direction. It is my pleasure to help the team at Indigenous Tourism Ontario and the industry with this important work.” Tim McGregor, Knowledge Keeper

The Advisory Committee will address many challenges of Indigenous tourism development. The committee will conduct additional research on relevant issues and topics; present and tackle pressing questions that need to be addressed by the broader indigenous tourism community, and work to build consensus to drive the development of Indigenous cultural integrity guidelines for the Ontario Indigenous tourism industry. Indigenous experiences are a part of the fabric of the Ontario tourism industry. Consumers are demanding Indigenous tourism activities when travelling to and within Ontario. This work will ensure consumers and suppliers are conducting business in a culturally meaningful and respectful manner.

ABOUT ITO
Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) is a provincial non-profit and membership association which focuses on creating aligning and forming partnerships between businesses, associations, organizations, government departments, and industry leaders from across Ontario and Canada to support the growth of Indigenous tourism in Ontario and Canada while addressing the demand for development and marketing of authentic Indigenous experiences. ITO has an established membership process that enables Indigenous tourism industry partners to engage with and show support for Indigenous tourism. For more information, visit www.IndigenousTourismOntario.ca.

CONTACTS
Kevin Eshkawkogan, President and CEO, Indigenous Tourism Ontario [email protected]

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