Wikwemikong Tourism Celebrates Graduates of Cultural Guide Training Program

Wikwemikong Tourism celebrated the graduation of its first cultural guide training program on November 23. The graduates are, on the left, Mandaago Osawamick, Jack Rivers, Vincent Manitowabi, as well as Dustin Peltier. Isaiah Peltier is missing from the photo.

WIIKWEMKOONG – Wikwemikong Tourism celebrated the graduation of its first cultural guide training program on November 23.

“This cultural guide training program has turned out to be a comprehensive training program that we hope will someday become an industry standard, and that other businesses or communities can use to help develop their skills. own guides and cultural entrepreneurs, “said Tourism. director Luke Wassegijig.

On November 23, Wikwemikong Tourism held a small gathering with staff and partners to celebrate the graduation ceremony for participants of the first edition of the program. The four interns who were enrolled in the program (Mandaago Osawamick, Jack Rivers, Vincent Manitowabi, Isaiah Peltier) have now achieved the title of “Cultural Guide” and are ready to pursue careers in the Aboriginal tourism industry. With each of these certifications under their belt, interns will be considered some of the most skilled tour guides in the industry, and Wikwemikong Tourism will continue to promote them as cultural guides.

The program has been designed to provide each participant with a blend of industry-certified training and cultural training delivered by local knowledge carriers. This training would successfully teach interns how to respectfully deliver cultural tourism experiences and educate visitors and community members about the history of the Wiikwemkoong community and the Anishnaabek people of the Great Lakes.

Trainees participated in 18 modules over 16 weeks, including ORCKA levels 1-3, wild mountain biking and entrepreneurship, pre-colonial cooking methods, advanced wilderness first aid, Anishnaabek language and culture, medicinal plants and teachings, hunters of furs and conservation management, Great Lakes history and migration, powwow etiquette and traditions, video production fundamentals, guide 101, hunting and guiding with Fuel the Fire TV, traditional harvesting methods, excellent service and earthly learning initiatives.

In addition to preparing Guides for a career in Indigenous tourism, Wikwemikong Tourism hopes to build capacity for their programming and daily cultural experiences by using the program as a springboard to build a list of guides and ultimately create jobs for them. community members. Wikwemikong Tourism hopes to return to pre-pandemic operating levels in 2019, and to do so, it needs knowledgeable guides with cultural, service and industry-related training in various fields. By completing the program, this ensures that each of the program’s graduates will have the confidence to organize community tours and events with minimal direction or supervision.

The first edition of the program was originally intended to include members of other communities and organizations, but due to COVID-19 constraints, it was limited to just five members of the Wiikwemkoong community. Wikwemikong Tourism hopes that the next edition of the cultural guide training program will include other communities.

Wikwemikong Tourism has already won awards for its premier cultural experiences, including being recognized as Tourism Champions in 2017 by Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario, the Indigenous Tourism Award in 2018 by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario and the Indigenous Adventure Award 2019 by the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada. The annual Wiikwemkoong Cultural Festival also received the Indigenous Tourism Award in 2019 by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario.

Wikwemikong Tourism is a department of Enaadmaagehjik (WDC) and is responsible for the development of community tourism guided by the tourism strategy of Wikwemikong, with the objective of laying the foundations for sustainable tourism development that will position the unceded territory of Wiikwemkoong as a four-season destination. Enaadmaagehjik is a non-profit organization whose mission is to nurture and promote the interests of the band members of the Unceded Territory of Wiikwemkoong through the promotion and creation of a diverse economic base in order to increase wealth , the opportunities, the quality of life of the entire population of Wiikwemkoong.

James C. Tibbs