TREATY 1 TERRITORY and the HOMELAND OF THE RED RIVER MÉTIS (WINNIPEG) — The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) has announced the winners of the 2023 Indigenous Tourism Awards – sponsored by WestJet – at the 10th International Indigenous Tourism Conference on March 9.
Celebrating excellence in Indigenous tourism, these annual awards honour exceptional Indigenous leaders and Indigenous tourism experiences and are divided into two categories: ITAC’s national awards, available to anyone across Canada; and the Indigenous Tourism Manitoba awards, available to Manitoba-based nominees. Nominee businesses must be majority Indigenous owned/controlled and located within Canada.
The winners include:
- Business Innovation Award – Dakota Dunes Resort & Casino
- Female Entrepreneur Award – Josée Leblanc, Atikuss Canada
- Leading the Way in Sustainability Award – Métis Crossing
- The Orginal Original Award for Exceptional Industry Leadership – Wikwemikong Tourism, Luke Wassegijig
- Provincial/Territorial Association of the Year Award – Indigenous Tourism Alberta
Manitoba’s Provincial Awards
- New Operator or Business that Launched a New Experience Award – Prairie Berry, Jen Turenne
- Cultural Experience Award – Whiteshell Petroforms
- Outstanding Staff Person Award – Dennis Daniels, Manitoba Indigenous Cultural Education Centre
- The Leading the Way in Business Development Award – Opaskwayak Cree Nation
“The winners represent an impressive and diverse group of Indigenous operators from coast to coast to coast that have successfully weathered several tough years—and continue to lead and thrive,” says Keith Henry, CEO and president of ITAC. “Each winner and finalist should be incredibly proud of their contribution to the ongoing success and growth of our industry.”
“Congratulations to all finalists and winners of this year’s awards, says Holly Courchene, CEO of Indigenous Tourism Manitoba and co-chair of Indigenous Tourism Manitoba. “In the spirit of this year’s conference theme, Adventure to Understanding, each winner represents the bringing together of Indigenous cultures – First Nations, Inuit and Métis – and their unique tourism experiences.”