World’s largest Indigenous tourism conference hits Kelowna

Dancers entering the hall at the Delta Grand Hotel during the grand entry procession of the International Indigenous Tourism Conference on Nov. 13. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)Dancers entering the hall at the Delta Grand Hotel during the grand entry procession of the International Indigenous Tourism Conference on Nov. 13. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and city councillor Gail Given carrying the Canadian and B.C. flags during the grand entry procession of the International Indigenous Tourism Conference on Nov. 13. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and city councillor Gail Given carrying the Canadian and B.C. flags during the grand entry procession of the International Indigenous Tourism Conference on Nov. 13. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Hand drummers playing a welcome song during the grand entry procession of the International Indigenous Tourism Conference on Nov. 13. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)Hand drummers playing a welcome song during the grand entry procession of the International Indigenous Tourism Conference on Nov. 13. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Recently elected Westbank First Nation Chief Christopher Derickson speaking during the official grand opening of the International Indigenous Tourism Conference on Nov. 13. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)Recently elected Westbank First Nation Chief Christopher Derickson speaking during the official grand opening of the International Indigenous Tourism Conference on Nov. 13. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)

The official grand opening of the 2019 International Indigenous Tourism Conference (IITC) was held on Wednesday morning, bringing the largest conference of its kind in the world to Kelowna.

The event featured three days of inspiring stories and transformational experiences in an attempt to unite the tourism industry.

This year’s conference theme is “Inspire. Transform. Unite. Accelerating Indigenous tourism growth.”

“I think this is an amazing opportunity to bring together people from across the nation, across the continent and — from what I understand — around the world to discuss something that’s very important,” said Westbank First Nation Chief Chris Derickson.

“We need to remain authentic to who we are — what our culture is, what our land teaches us, what our language teaches us — and not try to be something that somebody from some other country wants us to be or thinks we should be as Indigenous people. If we can keep that at the heart of Indigenous tourism, we can keep the experience authentic.”

The opening procession featured dancers and drummers from the host nations, Syilx, Nlakápamux and Secwépemc, in a showcase of Okanagan culture to those in attendance.

“They’re the beauty of our community,” said Jordan Coble a council member for Westbank First Nation.

“They’ve served as that reminder for us to take pride in what we do, take pride in how we do it and to dance like everybody’s watching.”

The event continues throughout Wednesday and Thursday, bringing several keynote speakers including Jordin Tootoo, the first Inuk player in the NHL and founder of the Team Tootoo Foundation.

The conference concludes on Thursday evening with the national and regional Indigenous Tourism Awards Gala, at 6:30 p.m.

READ MORE: Westbank First Nation unveils new $9 million renovated school

READ MORE: Christopher Derickson outlines his priorities as newly elected Westbank First Nation chief


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police are reminding drivers to stop for school buses after and uptick in driving complaints from bus drivers. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke RCMP reminding drivers to stop for school buses

There has been an uptick in driving complaints recently

Downtown Revelstoke. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
COVID-19 holds steady in Revelstoke at 16 new cases

The numbers are from Jan. 10 to 16

The Stoked Cubs U11 girls hockey team is the first girls team in Revelstoke in a long time. (Submitted)
Revelstoke’s girls hockey team skating towards $100,000 competition

The U11 team pitched support for the food bank in a submission to the Good Deed’s Cup

The BC SPCA is adapting its fundraising after cancelling events due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
BC SPCA gets creative with fundraising as pandemic continues

The non-profit’s in-person fundraising events all had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions

(File)
Man allegedly bites Vancouver cop during arrest for outstanding warrant

The officer was treated in hospital for the bite wounds

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after scratching $3M lottery ticket

This marks the BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize

Black bear cubs Athena and Jordan look on from their enclosure at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association in Errington, B.C., on July 8, 2015. Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant won the hearts of animal lovers when he opted not to shoot the baby bears in July after their mother was destroyed for repeatedly raiding homes near Port Hardy, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Supreme Court quashes review of B.C. conservation officer who refused to euthanize bears

Bryce Casavant was dismissed from his job for choosing not to shoot the cubs in 2015

(File Photo)
Interior Health says COVID positivity rates in Fernie area actually 10-12%

IH say the rates are not as high as previously claimed by the region’s top doctor

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Francina Mettes and Thomas Schouten with the 200-page document they submitted in December of 2018. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Dutch man, 94, facing unwanted trip home can stay in B.C. with wife of 45 years

Immigration offices cuts red tape so couple of 45 years can stay together in Victoria area

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier, health officials to discuss next steps in COVID immunization plan

Nearly 31,000 doses of vaccine the province expected by Jan. 29 could be curtailed due to production issues

Most Read