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These Indigenous women are reshaping Canada’s tourism industry


Every year, Canada’s tourism industry attracts millions of visitors from around the world who come to experience the country’s natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture. But behind the scenes, a quiet revolution is taking place as Indigenous women are reshaping Canada’s tourism industry.

Changing the Narrative

For far too long, the stories and experiences of Indigenous peoples have been marginalized in the mainstream tourism sector. However, a growing number of Indigenous women are challenging this status quo by bringing First Nations, Métis, and Inuit narratives to the forefront. Through their unique perspectives and deep connections to the land, these women are offering visitors a more authentic and immersive experience of Canada.

One such woman is Brenda Holder, a prominent figure in the Indigenous tourism industry. Holder, a member of the Kainai Nation, has been a trailblazer in promoting sustainable and culturally sensitive tourism experiences. Her company, Mahikan Trails, offers cultural tours that provide insight into the traditions, history, and contemporary life of Indigenous peoples.

The Power of Indigenous Knowledge

Indigenous knowledge and practices are deeply intertwined with the natural environment, making them especially valuable in the context of ecotourism and conservation. By centering Indigenous perspectives, the tourism industry has the potential to promote environmental stewardship and foster a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of all living things.

One example of this is the role of Indigenous knowledge in protecting Canada’s grizzly bears. Indigenous communities have historically coexisted with these majestic creatures and have a wealth of knowledge about their behavior and habitats. By leveraging this knowledge, Indigenous women and their communities are actively contributing to the conservation and preservation of Canada’s wildlife.

Shifting Stereotypes

Indigenous women in Canada are challenging stereotypes and misconceptions through their work in the tourism industry. By reclaiming agency over their narratives, they are reshaping the way visitors perceive and engage with Indigenous cultures. This shift is creating a more inclusive and respectful approach to tourism that honors the diversity and complexity of Indigenous communities.

  • Indigenous women are highlighting the diversity of Indigenous cultures, dispelling the myth of a monolithic Indigenous experience.
  • They are promoting sustainable and ethical tourism practices that prioritize cultural sensitivity and respect for the environment.
  • Through their leadership and advocacy, Indigenous women are inspiring future generations to take pride in their heritage and contribute to the revitalization of Indigenous traditions.


Q: How can I support Indigenous women in the tourism industry?

A: You can support Indigenous women by seeking out and participating in Indigenous-led tourism experiences, purchasing goods from Indigenous artisans, and amplifying their voices and stories within your own networks.

Q: What can the tourism industry do to better support Indigenous women?

A: The tourism industry can prioritize the hiring and training of Indigenous women, ensure that Indigenous communities have ownership and control over tourism initiatives on their lands, and work to dismantle colonial narratives and stereotypes within the industry.

Q: Are there any resources for learning more about Indigenous tourism in Canada?

A: Yes, there are many organizations and initiatives dedicated to promoting Indigenous tourism in Canada, such as Indigenous Tourism Canada and the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, which offer resources and information about Indigenous-led tourism experiences.

Q: How can non-Indigenous people be respectful and culturally sensitive when engaging with Indigenous communities?

A: Non-Indigenous people can center the voices and experiences of Indigenous community members, seek permission before entering Indigenous territories, and educate themselves about the histories and traditions of the Indigenous peoples they are visiting.

As the tourism industry continues to evolve, the contributions of Indigenous women are vital in creating a more equitable, inclusive, and enriching experience for visitors to Canada. By recognizing and celebrating their expertise and leadership, we can all participate in reshaping the narrative of Canadian tourism.