Kichiota Indigenous Destinations are the first of their kind in Canada

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The new tourism corridor offers immersive, authentic indigenous experiences

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It is a unique tourism project that highlights Indigenous history and culture in Saskatchewan.

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Kichiota Indigenous Destinations is Canada’s first Indigenous Tourism Corridor, a partnership between Whitecap Dakota First Nation, Wanuskewin Heritage Park and Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation.

The Corridor offers visitors multicultural and multi-day experiences that highlight the Indigenous cultures of the Northern Plains through history, art, storytelling and cuisine.

“The impetus behind this partnership was that we felt we had so much to offer to a global market in terms of Indigenous tourism,” said Andrew McDonald, Director of Marketing and Communications at Wanuskewin.

“When we compared what our future plans were for each of our locations, they fit and complemented each other so perfectly that it made perfect sense.”

Experiences include everything from teepee nights and bannock baking to powwow dance performances and traditional games.

Wanuskewin Heritage Park has reintroduced Plains bison to their ancestral lands after a 150-year absence.  The conservation herd has increased significantly since arriving at the park in 2019, with new babies being born each season.  Their importance to Aboriginal people is reflected throughout the park, including historical exhibits, art displays, and archaeological finds.  DELIVERED
Wanuskewin Heritage Park has reintroduced Plains bison to their ancestral lands after a 150-year absence. The conservation herd has increased significantly since arriving at the park in 2019, with new babies being born each season. Their importance to Aboriginal people is reflected throughout the park, including historical exhibits, art displays, and archaeological finds. DELIVERED

Wanuskewin Heritage Park

A National Historic Site, Wanuskewin has been a meeting place for the indigenous people of the northern plains – that is, before the Egyptian pyramids – for more than 6,400 years. The site hosts Canada’s longest running archaeological dig.

Wanuskewin offers inspiring hiking trails, a First Nations restaurant, daily dance performances and interpretive programs such as tipi lessons, scavenger hunts and traditional games. Its gallery has a large collection of indigenous art and cultural exhibitions.

Visitors can follow the Bison Viewing Trail to see the majestic herd of Plains bison, recently reintroduced to their ancestral homeland.

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This summer, Wanuskewin is repeating its Han Wi Moon Dinners, a twilight dining experience on the edge of the Opimihaw Valley. It includes a country-inspired three-course meal with storytelling and a cultural presentation. Visitors can also stay in a traditional teepee in the valley. Plan your visit below wanuskewin.com.

The Cree Nation of Beardy's and Okemasis is building a teepee lodge in Fort Carlton that will accommodate overnight visitors
The Cree Nation of Beardy’s and Okemasis is building a teepee lodge in Fort Carlton where visitors can “glamp” overnight and take part in cultural events. DELIVERED

Cree Nation by Beardy and Okemasis

At Beardy’s and Okemasis’ Cree Nation, experiences shed light on the post-contact history of indigenous peoples in these areas – from the historic signing of Treaty 6 and the Riel Resistance to the passport system and boarding schools.

“We want people to come and learn about our history, our shared history, but we also want people to come and have fun, have an adventure,” says Kevin Seesequasis, Community and Tourism Development Officer.

“We want to demonstrate the hospitality and resilience of our employees. We want to showcase our beautiful cultures – they are dynamic and alive.”

A tipi lodge will be built in Fort Carlton where visitors can stay and take part in cultural events. Also in the works is the development of a multi-use trail system that will be around 30 km long and ideal for walking, hiking, biking, bird watching and skiing. Both ventures are expected to be fully open in spring 2023.

Special events taking place this year include the Two-Spirit Pride Parade and Powwow, held annually in June, and the traditional Powwow, held August 26-28. visit bofn9697.com.

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Bannock and Bonfire is a new Dakota Dunes Adventure where guests are invited to cook bannock over an open fire while telling stories and learning about Dakota Indian history.  DELIVERED
Bannock and Bonfire is a new Dakota Dunes Adventure where guests are invited to cook bannock over an open fire while telling stories and learning about Dakota Indian history. DELIVERED

White cap Dakota First Nation

Whitecap Dakota First Nation has several tourist attractions including the Dakota Dunes Resort, the 18-hole Dakota Dunes Golf Links, and the Dakota Dunes Casino, the largest First Nations-operated casino in Saskatchewan.

“The Whitecap Dakota First Nation has a history of hospitality and welcoming of newcomers to the region,” said Darrell Balkwill, CEO of Whitecap Development Corp. “We are working to enhance the Indigenous experience for our guests with our Dakota Dunes Adventures.” Discover full details below www.dakotadunesresort.com.

Adventures include Bannock and Bonfire, where guests can cook bannock over an open fire, share stories, and learn about Dakota Indian history. Visitors can take a wagon ride through the historic Whitecap Dakota First Nation and enjoy educational powwow dance performances. The Taste of Moose Woods events, held during the winter, invite guests to experience an overnight stay, dinner, live music and an indigenous craft market. More adventures and amenities are in the works.

“Next up is Dakota Springs Spa, a resort with residential amenities and additional amenities like retail, recreation and cultural experiences,” says Balkwill.

By combining the strengths of each partner, Kichiota Indigenous Destinations offers visitors diverse experiences aimed at building the profile and impact of Indigenous tourism in Saskatchewan, says Seesequasis.

“We create world-class experiences that people can’t get anywhere else,” he says.

Learn more at kichiota.com.

This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division.

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