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View Full Article To Print Travelling through Canada? Follow the path of this land’s indigenous peoples at these four must-see destinations.

The demand for authentic, respectful indigenous (or aboriginal) experiences is growing. Research by the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada (ATAC) found that one in four visitors to British Columbia seeks an indigenous travel experience.

ATAC is a year into an ambitious plan to grow Canada’s aboriginal tourism industry to employ more than 40,000 people by 2021 and have 50 new tourism experiences ready to market to world travellers. In a survey that it conducted in 2015, it estimated the economic output from indigenous tourism at $817 million in wages and more than $142 million in tax revenues to all government levels.

At the same time, it must be said yours won’t be the first encounter that non-indigenous people have had with indigenous Canada. Let’s acknowledge this before we book our flights or hop in the van. It will take generations for Canadians to overcome a four-centuries legacy of shameful treatment, which is only now beginning to be recognized by non-indigenous people.

One of the main tools Canada used was the residential school system. "Bear in mind that many indigenous Canadians are not celebrating Canada 150 at all—they don’t see any reason to celebrate," says Beverley O’Neil, a British Columbia-based tourism and marketing consultant and citizen of the Ktunaxa First Nation in B.C.’s Kootenay mountain area. Despite this sordid history, O’Neil says that indigenous Canada does want to welcome you.

Your experience can be as simple as fine traditional aboriginal dining at Vancouver’s Salmon n’ Bannock Bistro. Take in the wisdom of elders at sites like Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park in Alberta, catch some Métis fiddlin’ in the middle of Manitoba. Head out on an aboriginal road trip from Cape Breton through the […]

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