This international project is funded through the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme 2014-2020. The project investigates “cultural sensitivity” as a core value in the development of support systems for start-ups and existing small and medium-sized enterprises offering innovative tourism products and services.
This project examines intersections of Indigenous livelihoods and contemporary tourism in Ontario’s “near north”, a perceptually demarcated leisure landscape among urban dwelling visitors. While social scientists have traced the production of tourism within this region, and its myriad effects on diverse groups, limited attention has focused on how First Nations in the area actively engage, relate to, or may ultimately benefit from tourism. Accordingly, objectives of this research are to:
1) understand how tourism policy and promotional landscapes complement, alter, or detract from Indigenous livelihoods;
2) collaborate with specific First Nations to identify community perspectives on using tourism to recover and maintain cultural livelihoods; and
3) interpret the effects of tourism experiences designed with First Nations on transformative learning and cross-cultural awareness.
This research seeks to address ongoing expressions and effects of settler colonialism through collaborative, multi-site investigations of the relationship between tourism and reconciliation. In Canada, and other settler states, tourism is a powerful social force that can either foster or thwart the establishment and maintenance of respectful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples called for by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Evidence suggests that tourism’s violence includes the displacement of Indigenous Peoples from ancestral lands and more subtle practices that “tame” or commodify Indigenous cultures. Studies also show tourism’s capacity to support Indigenous autonomy over land, knowledge, development, language, and cultural change. To date, however, limited research has made the disruption of settler colonialism—or critically articulated hopeful alternatives—through tourism its explicit mandate.