Alberta First Nations man looks to bring tourists to reserves with teepee camps
Published Tuesday, June 26, 2018 6:36AM EDT
An Alberta First Nations man is looking to bring a series of cross-cultural camps that would bring tourists and generate income on First Nations reserves across the country.
Riel Houle, from the Piikani First Nation in southern Alberta, is the owner of Pale Horse Tipi Camp, which he bills as a chance for guests to sleep in teepees and learn more about Blackfoot culture.
"We bring them out for a medicine hike out in the prairies…we go for walks with them we teach them about the various medicines and stories that go with them," he told CTV News Channel.
Houle previously ran the business from 2009 to 2013 – operating for two months every summer. He says he was able to make $500,000 in revenue during that period and employed 10 to 11 staff from the surrounding community.
He says that the camps offer a perfect opportunity for younger Indigenous people to share their culture with a wider range of people as well as generate income for those living on a reserve.
"Specifically towards university and college students…they have a chance to come back to the reserve and teach about their own heritage and culture," he said.
Houle is planning on pitching his concept to First Nations across Canada – although it's unclear how the program would be adapted for various First Nations.
He added that each First Nations would be able to showcase their own style of food in the program.
"I'm going to be travelling in the fall across various First Nations trying to get them onboard with the package we have. If they can buy in to it, we want to create a hub for tourism through our website," he said.
The camp kicks off the first weekend of July and is scheduled to run throughout the summer.