Kevin Barr promotes the Yukon First Nation Culture and Tourism Association conference

Mount Lorne--Southern Lake MLA Kevin Barr made the following statement in the Yukon Legislative Assembly on Tuesday, 27 October 2015:

I would like to make sure that everyone notes that, in November, the Yukon First Nation Culture and Tourism Association conference — and I would strongly encourage the government to support this conference and listen to the participants so that the opportunities for partnerships can be identified and implemented.

I know that my time is running out and I have so much to say, but I really wanted to mention this conference because I know that is one area that hasn’t seen an increase, yet there have been so many First Nations — dance groups, artists.

When we go to celebrations, we see it every day. That is what tourists want to see — an authentic performance. If we can actually hold them up higher — when we attend this conference. I would like to read from the website what they say about this upcoming conference — and I encourage us all to go — and I quote: “The Yukon First Nations community has experienced a tremendous resurgence in arts and culture, artists, artistic products, events and experiences over the past few decades, with many notable highlights in the past five years. The positive consequence of this resurgence has been increased self-confidence and pride among Yukon First Nations people of all ages and a willingness to share their culture with visitors. Concurrently, national and international market demand for authentic aboriginal tourism experiences is strong and continuing to grow.

“Many Yukon First Nations are keen to explore the growing opportunities in cultural tourism, recognizing that the industry can be a steward for sharing and preserving culture, and an economic driver for their communities. There is also a strong awareness that tourism has the potential to come at a cost. Without adequate planning and monitoring, aboriginal tourism can result in cultural erosion, loss of authenticity, commodification and commercialization of culture. Furthermore, the YFN cultural tourism industry faces significant development challenges, including limited capacity to develop tourism within FN communities and the reality that the national and international market place knows very little about Aboriginal cultural products.”

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’m nearly finished.

“First Nations stakeholders recognize the need for careful planning to ensure authenticity, as well as meaningful and sustainable development of tourism experiences and products that align with their community’s strengths, cultural values and traditions. The Sharing Our Stories: Developing Cultural Tourism in First Nations Communities Conference aims to address these issues and opportunities for the benefit of all Yukon First Nations. The conference will be held November 18-20, 2015 at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre and will feature a range of dynamic keynote speakers with expertise in various facets of the Aboriginal cultural tourism sector”.