The City of Cranbrook recently accepted a national advertising award for a campaign that significantly featured the Ktunaxa Nation.
The Best Advertising Campaign award from the Economic Developers Association of Canada recognized the efforts of the Ktunaxa Homelands campaign that launched earlier this year.
The Ktunaxa Homelands campaign tells the Ktunaxa Creation Story through a three-part video series, in a collaboration between the Ktunaxa Nation, Cranbrook Tourism, Tourism Fernie and Tourism Kimberley.
The campaign teaches and informs locals and visitors alike how the Rockies and Kootenay waterways were formed, and the significance of the Hoodoos, all through a Ktunaxa perspective.
Janice Alpine, responsible for Ktunaxa Tourism Engagement, recognized that the Kootenay Region—her homeland of Ktunaxa ʔamakʔis—was not a well-known location, yet was a part of “SuperNatural BC,” and “Beautiful BC” campaigns.
Alpine recognized that the Ktunaxa story and perspective were needed to support those campaigns, and were clearly missing.
“As we reclaim our stories of the land, we can now share with our neighbours and visitors,” she said. “We want to create an experience to be held in the memory, which can be taken away and revisited anytime.”
The Ktunaxa Nation Council Economic Investment Sector and their partners started work on the promotional campaign in 2020.
Darren Brewer, Business Development Office for the City of Cranbrook accepted the award at the EDAC’s annual conference in Kingston, Ontario, in early October.
“It was an honor to accept this prestigious national award on behalf of our communities,” Brewer said. “Ktunaxa Homelands won two awards, ‘Best Advertising Campaign’ and was a contender for the EDAC Cup which recognizes the best of the best meaning we were one of the top 3 in Canada.
“Thank you and congratulations to everyone who contributed, especially to Janice and Kristy, whose vision and passion created this meaningful initiative. This award is a testament to teamwork, and more importantly provided a national stage for the Ktunaxa Homelands project.”
Alpine noted that visitors to Ktunaxa homelands want to know answers to questions such as if there is a tribe in any particular place, or what land was traditionally used for.
“They want to know about places they visit, the places they paddle, hike to, and bike through,” said Alpine. “Right where they are standing—what does that place mean to Ktunaxa?”
Alpine also added that the Ktunaxa Homelands campaign came to fruition through partnerships with destination management organizations, Columbia Basin Trust, Destination BC and Ktunaxa citizens.
Kristy Jahn-Smith, Collaboration Lead with Cranbrook Tourism, touted the partnership.
“Visitors to our region want to know the history of this place, and we know we have a role to play in communicating the broader history of our region and its first peoples, said Jahn-Smith.
“We want to support Ktunaxa in telling their stories in their words. I feel we have achieved that in this collaboration, and look forward to more work together in future.”
The project spanned across the Ktunaxa Homelands, including the communities of Cranbrook, Kimberley, and Fernie, and was supported with funding from the communities as well as the Columbia Basin Trust, Destination British Columbia.