07 Dec SLCC Wins 2021 National TIAC Indigenous Tourism Award
ALGONQUIN ANISHNAABEG TERRITORY (Ottawa, ON) – The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre located on the unceded shared territories of Sk̲wx̲wú7mesh and L̓il̓wat7úl, Whistler, BC has been recognized with the 2021 National Indigenous Tourism Award presented by Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC). The Annual Canadian Tourism Awards were hosted December 1, 2021, at The Westin Ottawa hotel in Ottawa, Ontario, by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC).
SLCC Cultural Leader and voice of her generation, T’ec Georgina Dan of the Lil’wat Nation accepted the award on behalf of everyone at the SLCC. She graciously recognized the entire Ambassador family giving a moving acceptance speech from the heart to a deeply enamoured audience.
“It is truly amazing to be recognized, not only across Indigenous tourism, but Canadian tourism in general. We have about fifty Ambassadors, and 95% are Indigenous. We all have a story to tell, no matter what department you come from – Cultural sharing, Gift Shop, Cafe, Maintenance, Catering. Just like here in tourism, we all have inspiring stories to share.” said T’ec Georgina Dan.
Keith Henry, President & Chief Executive Officer of Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) said “The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre is a shining example of an Indigenous tourism business empowering Indigenous Peoples, committed to authentically sharing the cultural traditions of the Squamish and Lil’wat Peoples to inspire a better understanding and respect towards Indigenous Peoples. The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre has pivoted extremely well to the harsh realities of the COVID-19 pandemic while staying true to their core values of passion, empowerment, accountability, collaboration and equality. It was an honour to present such a well-deserved award to the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre.”
The TIAC National Indigenous Tourism Award, recognizes the SLCC for demonstrating a commitment to the development, promotion and delivery of an innovative, enriching and authentic Indigenous cultural visitor experience through tourism. The Award, sponsored by ITAC, finalists and winners are judged on upholding ITAC’s National Guidelines through employment, economic, social and cultural benefits to Indigenous Peoples; innovation and sustainability. As part of the annual Tourism Congress hosted by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, the Canadian Tourism Awards, recognize people, places, organizations and events that have gone above and beyond to offer a superior tourism experience to travelers in Canada.
The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism announced the SLCC’s prestigious win, and Patrick Weiler, the Member of Parliament for West Vancouver, Sunshine Coast and Sea to Sky Country proudly supported on stage as the SLCC accepted the award.
“The SLCC is proud and joyful to be the recipients of this Award, and recognize every Staff Ambassador and Board Member who worked with open hearts, innovative spirits, perseverance, and bursts of joy during some heartbreaking times to take the SLCC to where it is today.” said Heather Paul, Executive Director of the SLCC. “The SLCC would like to acknowledge and thank our Members, the Elders and Knowledge Keepers who share bravely and kindly with us, our curious guests and friendly clients, the support of our leaders at Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation. One of our driving goals as an organization is to bring meaningful employment to Indigenous youth. We look at Georgina’s smile in these pictures and it reaffirms our purpose and regenerates our love for the work we do.”
The SLCC would like to acknowledge and honour the great experiences and work of the other finalists – Feast Café Bistro in Winnipeg, MB and Métis Cultural Days Saskatoon, SK. The SLCC would like to graciously thank the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC), Canadian Tourism Awards, and Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) for the honour, and recognition of receiving this prestigious award.
Huy Chexw (thank you) Wa Chexw Yuu (take care) – Squamish Language
Kukw`stumc`kalap (Thank-you all) – Lil’wat Language