How to get the most out of Indigenous tourism experiences

Indigenous tourism experiences are so diverse and unique that it can be difficult to define them. But a comment from an Elder in Alberta may have summed it up best: “We’re literally opening the door of the tipi to invite people in.”

Indigenous tourism in Alberta is about that invitation. The experiences vary widely — they include everything from medicine walks to guided hikes to culinary offerings to art galleries — but at their heart, Indigenous tourism experiences are about welcoming travellers to learn.

The diversity of Indigenous People is staggering — there are dozens of nations, cultures and languages in Alberta alone — but that’s also what makes Indigenous tourism so unforgettable. There is such richness in that diversity that an experience in one part of Turtle Island (the traditional name for North America) will be completely different than in another.

“We’re literally opening the door of the tipi to invite people in”

Welcoming people to experience that richness and diversity is what Indigenous tourism is all about. An authentic experience can introduce new perspectives on culture, language and history. It can open the door to seeing the world in new ways, offering a worldview that connects deeply to the land and nature in ways that western worldviews often don’t. It’s no exaggeration to say that Indigenous experiences can offer new ways of seeing. And they are often wrapped in warmth, fun and humour.

So the best way to have a transformative Indigenous experience is simply to approach them with an open heart. Leave your preconceptions behind and embrace the opportunity to learn. Be curious but respectful. Ask questions without assumptions. Be open to new ideas and embrace the teachable moments and opportunities to see things differently. And have fun.

Want to learn more about Indigenous experiences in Alberta? Here’s a guide to getting started.