Monday, August 15, 2022

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Creating allies with Indigenous communities
Krista Ouellette
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Creating allies with Indigenous communities

This year, in honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day (and National Indigenous History Month), we welcomed Team YYC members, social media audiences, and airport and industry partners to experience Indigenous culture and amplify local voices.

National Indigenous History Month was especially emotional this year. The news dominating our media, social feeds, and conversations highlighted a regretful part of Canada's history: the discovery of more than 1,500 unmarked graves at former residential schools across Canada. Indigenous communities and Canadians are grieving. The purpose of shedding light on this is to inspire conversations, acquire knowledge, open up to change, and — most importantly — become individual allies.

We've recapped our journey for you below…

National Indigenous Day at YYC

Elder Alex blessing for YYC

National Indigenous Peoples Day was kicked off with a blessing from Tsuu'tina Nation Elder, Alex Crowchild. In Indigenous culture, it is customary to offer tobacco before asking a question or requesting a blessing. Elder Alex took the tobacco up into the mountains to give to the spirits to finalize our ask.

Indigenous dancing, drumming and singing at YYC

Siksika Nation's Sorrel Riders and the Young Pine family from the Blood Tribe and Métis Nation of AB shared their culture with dancing drumming and singing on YYC’s airfield. It was a special moment to film this on Apron IX, and hope you have just as much fun watching it. 

Indigenous Art Installations at YYC

Two Bears sculpture

If you've travelled out of YYC's International Terminal, you might have marveled at some of the granite installations located throughout. Cree stone sculptor, Stewart Steinhauer from Saddle Lake Reserve carved out some time for us to share his experience commissioning art for YYC.

Large-scale art piece by Jason Carter

Talk about painting a smile on our faces. Jason Carter, a local artist from Canmore, AB, talks about how he explored the splendor, landscape, and storytelling of Alberta through his large-scale art pieces at YYC. 

Amplifying local voices through partner collaborations

Not In My City Human trafficking stats

#NotInMyCity collaborated with @FlyYYC to highlight the disproportionate crime and violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls. We can all play an active role in reducing human trafficking. Learn more about #HumanTrafficking in Canada with a free online course at, and join the #SeeingYellow campaign to raise awareness of the issue.

Metis Cross in Smoky Lake AB

It's important to support Indigenous-led businesses. Indigenous Tourism Alberta has some great suggestions for experiences in our own backyard!

  • In Sophia Lebessis' words, what better way to learn about a culture than through their art. Transformation Fine Art, Canada's first Inuk-owned Inuit Art Gallery in Canada, is in Calgary, AB. 
  • Pei Pei Chei Ow (pronounced "pe-pe-s-chew") is a catering company based in Edmonton, AB. They also offer online cooking classes where participants can learn about Indigenous ways of cooking outdoors and the concept of Indigenous food in today's society.
  • Métis Crossing (pictured above), located near Smoky Lake, AB, was built to preserve the Métis Nation Peoples' language, culture, and traditions and is the first major Métis cultural interpretive centre in Alberta. The historic site sits on 512 acres, where Treaty 7 was signed, and is a world-renowned cultural, education, and entertainment centre.

Fishing excursion with Indigenous Outfitters

Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) shares the vast, unique Indigenous adventures available from coast to coast, including Indigenous Outfitters highlighting five amazing fishing adventures across Canada.

We enjoyed celebrating key aspects of the Indigenous culture with you and expanding our collective cultural sensitivity awareness. You can catch all of this content on our Instagram page in the NIHM highlight.

Stay tuned to our channels for more Indigenous-focused content throughout the year. 

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