'Spend a beautiful night in the teepees': B.C. First Nation to host tours
Ktunaxa call upcoming tours 'exclusive First Nations experience in a resort setting'
Starting next year, a B.C. First Nation will offer tourists a chance to "travel to another nation" as part of packaged four-day tours involving traditional food, activities and shelter.
The Ktunaxa First Nation is located within the Kootenay region of the B.C. southern Interior near Cranbrook.
On a website dedicated to the new Speaking Earth tourism package, organizers call the tours "an exclusive First Nations experience in a resort setting in the Canadian Rocky Mountains."
"They get to do some traditional Ktunaxa games, they get to do some hide tanning ... they get to do some beading," said Jared Teneese, the business and product development coordinator with the Ktunaxa Nation.
"They get to have a story by the elders down by the fire and then get to spend a beautiful night in the teepees."
'We want to show you who we are'
The Speaking Earth Haqaⱡpaⱡninam tours will be fully-catered packages offered through the Ktunaxa-owned St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino, the site of a former residential school.
In addition to staying at the resort in teepees, guests will get to visit other parts of the traditional territory including Ainsworth Hot Springs, Lakeshore Resort in Windermere and Copper Point Resort in Invermere.
"We wanted this experience for tourists to come and not just see the Ktunaxa Nation or First Nations as just beads and buckskin, we want to have them see it as more," said Teneese.
"We want to show you who we were, we want to show you who we are, and we want to show you who we are in the future."
Teneese said planning has been in the works for years.
"We looked at what we wanted culturally and what we wanted to do spiritually."
"This is a chance for us as a nation ... to speak the language every day, live the culture every day and share this on an international level," he said.
He said while the target demographic is international groups, the tours are "really open to anybody."
The Speaking Earth tours will cost roughly $1399 per person, all inclusive, and will launch in spring 2018.
Teneese said he's received a "flood of emails" expressing interest, but so far only two people have paid the registration fee.
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With files from CBC's Daybreak South.