Tourism Ch’illiwack is carving out a niche for itself as a leader in reconciliation.
Hot off the presses is ‘Sí:yá:ya Yóyes: A Living Tourism Action Plan,’ drafted with input from Stó:lō leaders and knowledge keepers.
“Once developed, this strategy will guide programs, services, and partnerships, allowing the organization to work respectfully and effectively with Indigenous peoples,” said Brian Minter, chair of Tourism Ch’illiwack.
Tourism Ch’illiwack will lean on its “living” plan for guidance, updating when necessary, and ensuring what they do is in sync with the national calls for action from Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
“We often hear how organizations and governments are looking to work together and implement concepts of reconciliation, but actions speak louder than words,” said Chief David Jimmie, who said he was grateful to be part of something “tangible and forward-thinking” to effect positive change.
With guidance from the elders, Cheam chief Andrew Victor said his community is is excited to support the new action plan.
“It is rooted in the spirit of reconciliation and partnership, and committed to upholding our cultural principles, values and traditions. This is the first tourism action plan in Canada to include Indigenous teachings and practices at the forefront and express a commitment to reconciliation and working together,” said Victor.
Tourism Ch’illiwack supported reconciliation with:
• Stó:lō rep on Tourism Ch’illiwack Board;
• Indigenous culture integrated into marketing;
• Stó:lō Welcome Figures at Visitor Centre;
• National Junior A Cup Hockey 2018 partnership with Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe, City of Ch’illiwack;
“It is our wish to encourage further growth in our connection and partnership with the Stó:lō people, therefore Tourism Ch’illiwack has developed this Action Plan and is committed to acting upon it,” according to the final draft of the plan.
“Through the implementation of this living Action Plan, we are making a promise to the peoples of the Stó:lō Nation that we are committed to the work of becoming trusted friends.
“It is our hope that we can lead the change we wish to see in this country and will take it upon ourselves to spread this message through our platform as a leading tourism organization to inspire others to do the same.”
The plan was called, Sí:yá:ya Yóyes, which means ‘friends working (together) in Halq’eméylem, and it was facilitated Dan George of Four Direction Management Services. The committee comprised Squiala Chief David Jimmie, president of the Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe and Stó:lō Nation, Ernie Victor of Cheam Nation, Dave Schaepe, governance chair of Tourism Ch’illiwack, Brian Minter, Chair of Tourism Ch’illiwack, and Allison Colthorp, executive director of Tourism Ch’illiwack.
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