The Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, a cultural hub of our capital city, will see national delegates focused on aboriginal economic development arrive on Monday, October 3 for the CANDO 23rd annual conference: Partnerships for Prosperity, Change Collaboration and Opportunity.

CANDO (Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers) is a federally registered, non-profit society that is Aboriginal controlled, community based and membership driven. CANDO is directed by a regionally represented volunteer board of elected economic development officers who represent every region of Canada.

The conference takes place Oct. 3 to 6, and events will include the workshop “Building Aboriginal Tourism from the Ground Up”, hosted and organized by the Yukon First Nation Tourism Association.

“We are bringing up Jackie Frederick, she is one of the partners of The Hotkey Group,” says Cailie Steel with the Yukon First Nation Tourism Association. “They have a collection of unique travel experiences called Uncommon Canada. We have been working with Jackie over the last couple of months on providing assistance to some local First Nation entrepreneurs who are starting up tourism businesses.”

Most notably, they have been working James Allen, tourism business operator with Shakat Tun Adventures.

“The content (of the workshop) is based on Jackie’s experience working in the tourism industry. She was the visionary behind Destination Deline.”

Destination Deline is a community cultural tourism experience in Deline, NWT. “She acts as a general sales agent, she promotes the experience to clients and tour companies across Canada and Internationally.

“For First Nation communities, tourism is a great opportunity to pursue economic development in a way they want to see it unfold.”

This creative approach to economic development is especially successful within community driven initiatives.

“They are very involved in the decision making process, deciding what kind of experience they want to offer the tourists.”

These initiatives also provide opportunity to educate and build awareness of First Nation culture and lifestyles.

A portion of the workshop will focus on experiential tourism.

“There is definitely a demand for that component. People would prefer to have the opportunity to be actively involved, learn how to bead, prepare a hide,”  Steel says.

The workshop aims to help participants building on raw assets.

“That is what it is about. So many communities have so much to offer; the people there, their culture, their traditions, that is the experience. It’s not something that has to be created. It’s there, it exists, it’s figuring out how to harness it in the right way in order to share.”

Anyone who is interested in cultural tourism is encouraged to register for the workshop. The fee is $75. To register for the workshop, contact Yukon First Nation Tourism Association at 667-7698. For more information about the CANDO conference go to www.Edo.ca.


A Weekend of Art, in Addition to Opportunity

The conference weekend will also feature an artist market at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre.

“It’s going to be a craft fair style artist market,” says Caili Steel. “There will be about 10 tables with about 20 artists represented. They’re going to be displaying and selling their works.”

The artist market will be open Oct. 4 to 6 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“There will be a variety of products available. We have beaders, carvers, stain-glass – a real mix.”