Authentically Canadian

Many of the 700 Indigenous communities in Canada now offer visitors the opportunity to connect with their traditions, cultures and landscapes. Lauren Jarvis suggests 10 authentic experiences to offer clients

Authentically Canadian

Many of the 700 Indigenous communities in Canada now offer visitors the opportunity to connect with their traditions, cultures and landscapes. Lauren Jarvis suggests 10 authentic experiences to offer clients

Dine under the Northern Lights

One of the world’s best places to see the Aurora Borealis, Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories sees the spectacular display dance across the sky on more than 200 nights every year. The Indigenous family-owned Aurora Village provides the perfect cosy spot to view the phenomena. Guests can dine in a traditional teepee before watching the cosmic show, and learning about the myths and legends linked to the Northern Lights.

Take a thrilling dog-sled ride

indiginous dog

Indigenous Peoples have been using dog sleds in Canada for hundreds of years, and today, there’s no more thrilling way for visitors to whiz through a winter wonderland than on a sled pulled by a team of huskies. Based in Churchill, Manitoba, family-run Wapusk Adventures offers dog sledding tours through the boreal forest, and cultural talks about the Métis People.

Seek out a spirit bear

indiginous spirit

British Columbia’s Great Bear Forest is home to grizzly and black bears, along with several hundred ghostly-white Kermode bears, which have shared the Kitasoo Xai’xais traditional territory for aeons. Believed to have magical powers, these cream-coloured animals have become known as ‘spirit bears’. At Indigenous-owned Spirit Bear Lodge, you can join a guided safari to find them.

Go on an Arctic adventure

indiginous artic

Their deep connection to their traditional lands makes Indigenous Peoples fascinating guides. Inuit-owned Arctic Bay Adventures offers a memorable immersive Indigenous experience. Set within the Arctic Circle on the northwest corner of Nunavut’s Baffin Island, Arctic Bay is one of the world’s most northerly communities, and the gateway to glacial valleys, red rock cliffs and Admiralty Inlet, the longest fjord on Earth.

Watch out for whales

indiginous whales

Homalco Wildlife & Cultural Tours offer voyages in the Salish Sea, off British Columbia, in search of whales, dolphins, sea lions, otters and eagles, and interpretive explorations of Orford Bay, a winter gathering place for the Xwémalhkwu or Homalco of Bute Inlet, known as the ‘People of Fast Running Waters’. Visitors learn about traditional plants, medicines, shelter and clothing from an Indigenous guide – and might spot grizzly bears feasting on salmon.

Explore indigenous traditions

indiginous explore

Wendake in Quebec offers an immersive journey into the culture of the Huron-Wendat People. The Hotel-Musée Premières Nations is home of the Huron-Wendat Museum, while the Huron Traditional Site, on the Huron-Wendat reservation, offers canoe rides, tours of a Yänonhchia’ (long house), dance displays and Indigenous cuisine.

Herd reindeer across the tundra

indiginous herd

Join Indigenous herders on an epic journey by snowmobile, guiding thousands of reindeer to their spring calving grounds, and enjoy Inuvialuit hospitality in Tuktoyaktuk on the edge of the Arctic Ocean. This authentic experience offers the option of building and sleeping in an igloo, dining in a teepee, and watching the Northern Lights. Guests can also visit an igloo church, go on a snowshoe hike, and enjoy local cuisine and cultural activities.

Uncover Indigenous treasures

indiginous undercover

Known as ‘Canada’s longest-running archaeological dig’, Wanuskewin Heritage Park in Saskatchewan protects precious archaeological sites, some older than the Egyptian Pyramids. This modern cultural centre, which honours the 6,000-year history of the Northern Plains Indigenous Peoples, has a gallery showcasing Indigenous artists, an Indigenous restaurant – and a bison herd.

Escape to the islands

indiginous escape

Off the northern Pacific coast of Canada,Haida Gwaii is an archipelago with two main islands, Graham Island and Moresby Island, along with 400 other isles. Visitors can learn about the history and culture of the Haida People, who have lived in the region for 13,000 years, and experience their warm hospitality with a stay at Haida-owned accommodations, including the boutique beachfront Ocean House, or the lodges and cabins at Haida House.

Join a Pow Wow

indiginous powwow

These large ceremonial gatherings are a celebration of Indigenous heritage, preserving ancestral traditions and displaying the skills and crafts of Indigenous communities. The summer months sees First Nations Peoples from Yukon to Québec come together through dance, storytelling and food, and are ready to welcome non-Indigenous guests to join the party.

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