August 06, 2007

Tourism on the rez

Spirit of enterprise

Tourism on 'the rez' is helping native bands wean themselves from welfare and preserve their cultureHaving helped save the land, the Martin family is now making a living off it. Ms. Martin is one of the new breed of aboriginal business leaders who view tourism as both a viable enterprise and a way of preserving a unique lifestyle. According to the National Study on Aboriginal Tourism released in 2003, there are more than 1,500 First Nation businesses catering to tourists.

Traditionally relying on government subsidies and casino revenues, there is "enough expertise and business entities to take it to the next level," says Daniel-Paul Bork, CEO, Aboriginal Tourism Canada, the organization that commissioned the 2003 study. As more aboriginal students graduate university with degrees in commerce and marketing, "more First Nations communities are stepping up to the plate," he says. "They realize that they no longer need to lease out their resources--they can run the operations themselves."

No comments: