From wildlife and cultural tours in Homalco Territory on northern Vancouver Island, to Great Bear Rainforest explorations in the home of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais people, six Indigenous-owned businesses from Coastal British Columbia are making it easier to enjoy Indigenous travel experiences.
While Canadians celebrate National Indigenous History Month, the Indigenous Coastal Wildlife Collective has launched a new campaign to help those seeking Indigenous travel experiences find what they’re looking for.
Offering world-class wildlife tours through a Coastal First Nations lens, the Indigenous-owned-and-operated businesses let visitors experience B.C.’s culture and wildlife through the eyes of the people who’ve been here for thousands of years, exploring, understanding, respecting and appreciating this region.
That message is embodied in ICWC’s new tagline: “See the land through our eyes.”
“The ICWC represents a rooted connection to the past and a blueprint for the future,” said Michelle Brown of Spirit Bear Lodge, one of six ICWC member businesses. “By exploring with this collective, visitors are helping to support a cross-generational connection that goes much deeper than tourism.”
Destination Canada research shows that one in three Canadians – and 37 per cent of international travellers – seek Indigenous travel experiences, a desire amplified through the pandemic as travellers look for more regenerative and sustainable opportunities, such as those exemplified by many Indigenous-led experiences.
Businesses like those in the ICWC – formed during the pandemic to support cultural partnership, share resources and encourage more British Columbians and Canadians to choose Indigenous travel experiences in coastal B.C. – are stepping up to meet this demand.
Here’s a look at the opportunities available:
- Coastal Rainforest Safaris, Kwakwaka’wakw Territory – Departing from Port Hardy on northern Vancouver Island, guests enjoy an immersive nature experience told from a unique, Indigenous perspective that explores Indigenous connection to the land and sea, the wildlife, and the history that makes the area what it is now.
- Homalco Wildlife & Cultural Tours, Homalco Territory – Discover Vancouver Island’s Bute Inlet and the traditional territory of Homalco First Nation. Excursions with Indigenous guides from Campbell River offer spectacular access to wilderness and some of Canada’s most sought-after wildlife including grizzly bears, whales, eagles and spawning salmon.
- Knight Inlet Lodge, Collective traditional territories of the Da’naxda’xw Awaetlala, Mamalilikulla, Tlowitsis, Wei wai kum, and K’Ómoks First Nations –From Knight Inlet Lodge, in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, discover one of the premier grizzly bear viewing experiences in the world, set amid the dramatic snow-capped peaks of Canada’s rugged coastline.
- Klahoose Wilderness Resort, Klahoose Territory – Indulge in an intimate, all-inclusive culture and wildlife package, offering a deep connection with Indigenous culture, grizzly bear viewing of Toba Inlet, and access to the coastal wilderness of Desolation Sound.
- Sea Wolf Adventures, Kwakwaka’wakw Territory – Experience the Broughton Archipelago and the Great Bear Rainforest in Northern Vancouver Island while enjoying the comfortable touches of a luxury tour, guided by experts who share the truth behind these experiences. Sea Wolf combines their grizzly bear and whale watching trips with cultural experiences, for a truly unique adventure.
- Spirit Bear Lodge, Kitasoo/Xai’xais Territory – Set in the Great Bear Rainforest, enjoy exclusive access to wildlife viewing areas and cultural sites within the Kitasoo/Xai’xais traditional territory. Spirit Bear Lodge shares with guests the Kitasoo/Xai’xais ancient culture, the region’s spectacular wildlife, stunning landscapes and to reconnect with nature.
Learn more, and plan your adventure, at goindigenous.ca
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