Developing and building relationships is a key aspect of a new regional branding initiative that is in the works from the Ktunaxa Nation Council.
Janice Alpine, Business Development Officer/Tourism Engagement, highlighted the work that is currently underway during a presentation to Cranbrook city council on Monday night.
The process began three years ago, as the Ktunaxa Nation Council kept hearing feedback from local businesses that were interested in Indigenous products.
“The business sector was looking to the Ktunaxa for products,” said Alpine. “At that time, the authentic Indigenous products was coming to a trend in the tourism industry. We also didn’t really have any information on the Ktunaxa and a lot of the businesses in the business industry in the region wanted to find information on the Ktunaxa.
“We have a lot of material, but it’s raw, meaning that somebody will have to coming in and do some research to actually produce something that is good for public consumption.”
A regional inventory and report was done by the Ktunaxa Nation Council and Kootenay Rockies tourism, which identified a lack of information about the Ktunaxa Nation in places such as chamber offices, visitor centres or museums.
“It wasn’t as surprise that there was no information,” said Alpine, “and it was very nice to hear that 99 per cent said they would like information in their visitor centres and museums and chambers about the Ktunaxa and they also agreed that it would be the Ktunaxa that needed to be telling the story.”
With that report in hand, the Ktunaxa Nation Council has begun conducting conversations with the local governments, along with the business and tourism industry, noting a lack of processes for engaging with the Ktunaxa.
Alpine added that organizations such as municipalities, business associations, large corporations and museums are approaching the Ktunaxa, while the overall business sector is looking for partnerships, relationships and mutual cooperation.
Alpine also said the Ktunaxa Nation hasn’t had a formal relationship with the City of Cranbrook since the 1970s.
The Ktunaxa Nation Council has four communities in British Columbia — Akisq’nuk (Columbia Valley), ?Aq’am (St. Mary), Yaqan nu?kiy (Creston) and ʔakink̓umǂasnuqǂiʔit (Tobacco Plains in Grasmere), with a traditional territory that stretches from the Canadian Rockies inthe the north western United States.