Manic Monday – Learn, Build, Open Up, Set an Example – Together

Midnight Musings from our CEO

LEARN about Indigenous culture
BUILD new & better relationships
OPEN UP to new opportunities

Last Thursday throughout Canada we celebrated National Indigenous Peoples Day. Several of our TOTA team attended celebrations that took place throughout this region.  The day weaved together ceremony with celebration, festivity with sombre reflection, timeless rituals with modern adaptations, and all were accompanied by various traditional foods, music, artistry and dance. These events, large and small, were joyful, poignant, at times solemn reminders of a history that has been anything but picture perfect. Our team took great honor and appreciation in having the opportunity to take part these gatherings.

Indigenous Peoples Day has many meanings for many people. For some, it is a celebration of culture.  For others, it is a time of reflection of tremendous loss as well as an opportunity to recognize some of the positive gains that have been achieved. Without question Indigenous Peoples Day carries an ever-growing importance that reflects the significance of the Indigenous role in this lands’ past as well as its future.

For the non-Indigenous, we have an opportunity now, more than ever before, to engage, to listen, to learn and to start a renewed relationship. These communities are rich with stories, anchored by spirituality, connected and respectful of mother earth, and driven by a resilience that has helped them endure a long history of struggle. Taking the time to discover and understand this culture and how it has survived will continue to bring us closer together as people and as a country.

The Thompson Okanagan region is home to three separate Indigenous nations: The Syilx, The Secwepemc, and The Nlaka’pamux. The relationship TOTA, in partnership with Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC), share with these nations continues to grow and deepen.  In 2017, our first Indigenous Board Chair was elected, Frank Antoine, who is a member of the Secwepemc nation and has played an instrumental role in guiding and mentoring our organization through his mindfulness and thoughtful approach to life.

As I reflect on Indigenous Peoples Day and the reports I received from the TOTA team’s experiences in attendance at the Day’s festivities, I am reminded of the tireless work that has been done by so many to bring us to where we are at this moment in time. The foundation is being laid for a strong, vibrant and healthy Indigenous culture and each one of us can play a role in helping to move this vision forward through education, engagement, support, participation and understanding. By taking the time to get to know your Indigenous neighbours through all of those avenues, you will find that not only are you helping to make positive change occur, but your own life will be greatly enriched.

Our Syilx people have an incredible Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre in Osoyoos, and an amazing Sncewips Heritage Museum in West Kelowna. The Secwepemc people have the awe-inspiring Quaaout Lodge in Chase and the historic Secwepemc Museum in Kamloops. The Nlaka’pamux people have both the delicious Kekuli Café and the inspiring Nlaka’pamux Creations next door to one another in Merritt. No matter where you call home in our region, there is Indigenous culture for you to explore.

We are all better together, succeed together, and can set an example for the world together.

LEARN about Indigenous culture
BUILD new & better relationships
OPEN UP to new opportunities


A Few Highlights from this Week’s News Centre…

Our partners at Air Canada continue to help us grow tourism in this region with excellent connections from major Canadian cities.  Last week we saw another tremendous example of this as the inaugural Air Canada flight from Toronto arrived into Kamloops (read more); Congratulations to our regions own Chris Colletta, founder of Okanagan Crush Pad, who was named one of Western Livings top 10 Foodies of the year (read more); Prestige Hotels and Resorts is celebrating 25 years of operating in British Columbia and as part of the festivities they have taken to the road, or at least they have let one lucky couple travel BC.  Learn more about the “Prestige Adventure”; an Ultimate Summer Road Trip (read more).

THE VOTING CONTINUES: WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS; You can still cast your vote for TOTA in the upcoming World Travel Awards under the category of Responsible Tourism. YOU get to be the judge and help put our region in the forefront of international markets.  To register and vote for the Thompson Okanagan go to (read more).

Read all of this week’s News Centre stories at

Keep following and contributing to TOTA’s Facebook and Twitter sites throughout the week; send us your stories, photos, events and remarkable experiences. Make sure the industry knows what is happening around our region.  Be sure to use #route97 and #explorebc when posting your tourism shots and stories.

All News