Indigenous Tourism Alberta (ITA) encourages and promotes authentic Indigenous tourism that showcases the unique and immersive experiences offered by its members throughout our four regions; North, Central and Southern Alberta as well as the Rockies. ITA’s goal is to enhance economic viability, further engage and support our Indigenous peoples, and nurture these partnerships throughout the province by sharing our stories, culture, and experiences with a global audience.
Any Indigenous person, Indigenous organization and Industry partner that has an interest in advancing Indigenous tourism in Alberta may apply to become an ITA Member.
Indigenous Tourism Alberta is proudly supported in partnership with the following organizations: Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, Western Economic Diversification, Indigenous Services Canada, Government of Alberta, and Travel Alberta.
With its head office in Edmonton, Indigenous Tourism Alberta (ITA) strives for streamlined leadership in Indigenous tourism, creating a coordinated voice and a shared vision of goals under the leadership of a passionate and dedicated board of directors and staff.
As the CEO, Shae has been responsible for steering ITA through one of the most difficult times in tourism history. Through his leadership, ITA has created the Indigenous Tourism Alberta Strategy 2020-2024 to drive its business, while growing ITA’s members to more than 180. Additionally, Shae has secured necessary funding grants to stabilize Indigenous businesses during COVID-19, including the Stimulus Relief Fund which provided relief to more than 80 businesses alongside Provincial and National partners.
With education through the Masters in Tourism Management program from Royal Roads University and corporate experience that covers strategic planning, organizational renewal, operations management, government relations and capital project oversight, Shae is now proud to call Treaty 6 & Metis Region 4, Edmonton, Alberta, home. Shae has quickly become recognized and respected as a leader in Indigenous tourism across Alberta and Canada with interview requests, speaking roles and involvement in multiple economic recovery task forces across Alberta.
Brown is well known across Alberta for performing with her mom as “Warrior Women.” Together they drum and teach around Alberta for the Northern Alberta Teachers Conference, the annual Jasper Dark Skies Festival, Youth Dream Catchers Conference, Canada Day, Aboriginal Day festivities and more.
In addition to drumming, Brown is also an avid acrylic artist and traditional First Nations crafts artisan. Her art has been featured in the Pump House Gallery, the Edson Gallery Museum, the Gray Gallery Grant MacEwan, recognized for the Alberta Indian Arts and Crafts Award of 2017, featured for the Alberta Business Competition 2017 and sold to people travelling worldwide at Jasper Park Lodge.
Brown has also been awarded the 2019 Esquao Award for Children’s Future, the 2019 Indigenous Woman of the year award from the Alberta Assembly of First Nations, the Top 30 under 30 from the Alberta Corporation for Global Cooperation 2020 and the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award from Grant MacEwan University.
Jaspar has over two decades of accounting professional experience. He acquired a Bachelor of Management degree in Accounting from The University of Lethbridge. And later obtained the Chartered Professional Accounting (CPA) designation while articling with an accounting firm based in Edmonton, Alberta. Jaspar is pursuing an MBA in Global Leadership with The University of Fredericton.
As an experienced CPA, Jaspar has experience in leadership roles in the accounting industry; Skilled in Auditing, Full-cycle Accounting, Process Scheduler, Budgeting, Business Planning, Project Management, Managing Teams, and Customers Service. He has experience in the following industries: oil and gas, construction, public accounting, and the not-for-profit sector. This was when he realized he was passionate about the not-for-Profit section, as he aspires to give back to the community.
He spent several years in journalism, working as an editor at Postmedia and Swerve magazine, and writing for publications such as the Guardian, the Los Angeles Times and the National Post. He is the author of the book Frostbike: The Joy, Pain and Numbness of Winter Cycling.
In his free time, you’ll probably find Tom riding a bike, sometimes creating videos for his YouTube channel Shifter.
Bellerose has a background in doing youth work across Alberta, volunteering on the Calgary Public Art Board in 2018-2019, and consulting in the fields of tourism, education, healthcare, and city-development planning. Kayla has gained valuable experience working with youth in various programs such as Alberta Future Leaders Program, Ótáp ímisskaan: The Indigenous Youth Leadership Program housed at University of Calgary, and also facilitating her own Creative Heart Art Workshops in Indigenous communities across Alberta.
Kayla Bellerose is a visual artist with the artist name of bb iskwew symbolizing her traditional Cree name gifted from her nokum, Baby woman. The art practice by bb iskwew is an expression of her matriarchal roots and connection to Mother Earth teachings. Using the mediums of photography, illustration, animation, sculpture, beadwork, painting, and poetry, bb iskwew shares her healing journey through artistic visual medicine. Bellerose completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a minor in International Indigenous Studies from the University of Calgary in 2020.
Kayla is passionate in sharing her creative skills to help uplift Indigenous relatives and voices in the arts and tourism, and has a life goal of being a helper in creating a sustainable economic ecosystem-community for Indigenous entrepreneurs to thrive.
In addition to his experience within the tourism industry, he has a particular interest in history, genealogy and art. Curtis holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Native Studies from the University of Alberta.
Before ITA, Renee worked with Community Futures West Yellowhead supporting and coaching small businesses and entrepreneurs. She holds a degree in General Studies from the University of Athabasca along with a Human Resources Management Certification from the University of Alberta.
When not at work Renee spends most of her time reading, taking courses, hiking, and foraging for edible and medicinal plants.
With a solution-focused mindset, she enjoys working with people who are enthusiastic about what they do or who are building something new (even if it’s hard!) and always finds ways to polish-out the silver lining no matter what challenges she may face.
Jessica’s role at ITA is to provide high level executive support. With a background in executive office management she aids with day-to-day administration and operations.
Board of Directors
Indigenous Tourism Alberta would not be here today without the leadership of our Board of Directors. This founding board consist of key Indigenous tourism ambassadors throughout Alberta and continue to lead the direction of our organization today.
Tim W. Patterson
Talking Rock Tours