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  • Nerida K

FESA at The International Indigenous Tourism Conference

On March 8th we travelled to the International Indigenous Tourism Conference (IITC) in Winnipeg, Manitoba to learn from Indigenous tourism operators around the world and share our work and Cooks with Stones program. We met industry leaders and innovators, toured local Indigenous experiences and businesses, and enjoyed a “Taste of Turtle Island” and the amazing cuisine from Indigenous Chefs like Scott Iserhoff and Shane Chartrand.

Last but not least, we announced our Cooks with Stones, including Indigenous chefs and youth from the program, have been invite to share their culture and cuisine to global audience at Canada Day 2023, London, UK:

Here are some pictures and highlights from our time at the IITC.

Cultural Tours

We were lucky enough to visit some remarkable local Indigenous tours and experiences in Winnipeg, including the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and a stone carving workshop led by Manitoba local Cree carver Frederik Spence.

“At the front of the class Fred had some of his work displayed which included different animals, like the bear and Bison. He also had this wonderful stone carved Tipi which he lit his smudge on and the smoke would come pouring out the top. I have never seen anything like this before. It was so neat. Everyone in the class had a really good time learning to carve, talking, laughing and sharing stories.

This class further reinforced for me that Indigenous inspired crafts have the ability to connect and transcend culture towards the participants in deep and meaningful ways. It helps us, (the Indigenous learner) feel connected and grounded in who we are, and our culture. It’s a celebration of identity, belonging, and creativity. You will almost always find storytelling takes shape in these types of cultural craft classes.” — Sade

Taste of Turtle Island

Taste of Turtle Island was an incredible experience filled with professional Indigenous Chefs sharing their unique cuisine featuring wild meat, root vegetables and all kinds of decadent flavours.

We had a lot of fun meeting people from all over Canada and abroad and tasting the delicious foods, including food from Chef Scott Iserhoff and Chef Shane Chartrand who have partnered with our Cooks with Stones program.

Sharing about Cooks with Stones

During the second day of the conference, FESA and Cooks with Stones were a feature of the Break-Out Session 'Culinary working with community'. We joined the Indigenous Culinary of Associated Nations and Chefs (ICANC) and listened to a great panel discussion on each Chef's unique experience on how they got to where they are today and their roles in community. It was very inspiring to hear how each of the chefs considered cooking as a cultural medium and tool for gathering community, and learning stories, and continuing cultural traditions and ways of knowing through their culinary arts/cooking techniques.

After the panel, we made our exciting Cooks with Stones announcement. Cooks with Stones is going to London, UK for a special Canada Day celebration in Trafalgar Square!

Other inspiration, learning and highlights

The Conference was an incredible experience to learn, and build connections and support for Cooks with Stones. Some of our other highlights include the musical performances, meeting The Honourable Murray Sinclair, the Indigenous Tourism Awards Gala, signing the pledge to join Indigenous Tourism Team Canada and winning the Bannock Bake Off!

“Seeing the Ivan Flett Memorial Dancers up close and personal was amazing. I even “cut a rug” with our Board Chair, Donna Rapp, because when the Métis fiddle music starts, you cannot hold us down!” — Ted

“We had a Bannock Bake Off and our table had the big fluffy bannock!” — Shawna


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