Meaningful representation is vital for Indigenous communities to thrive

© Photo by Rebecca Amber

By Sarain Fox

For far too long, we’ve heard colonial perspectives on our stories and histories. As an Indigenous woman, I see opportunities for perspective shifting, truth speaking, and the reclamation of our narratives.

There is power in lifting up voices—especially on social media. I feel the responsibility to use my platform to create meaningful dialogue and share stories of the land and my people.

It is through the sharing of our truths that we can truly see one another and connect ourselves through shared experiences. That’s why I’m thrilled to see dialogue and consultation in action at Contiki, who I partner with through my work with the TreadRight Foundation. Empowerment through representation of all kinds helps us align on a common goal: reclaiming narratives that allow us to connect in more authentic, meaningful ways.

People travel in search of connection. There has never been a more critical time for us to uplift Indigenous narratives and share the real history of this country.

This summer, as Canada begins to see the light after the pandemic, I’m excited to work with Contiki in partnership with Travel Alberta to showcase the Canada that we should know. We’re putting the spotlight on Indigenous makers, artists, musicians and storytellers. We want to show travellers and Canadians alike the stories they should know.

Our youth should have access to what connects them to their heritage, who they are and to their roots—otherwise, how can we hope to keep Indigenous culture alive?

Contiki and I will be sharing the stories of three incredibly talented change-makers:

Theland Kicknosway became an activist at the young age of seven. He is a champion hoop dancer and Indigenous youth advocate who believes that it’s not only critical to keep his traditions and culture alive but that it’s time to Indigenize the new modern times. You can meet Theland in my short film about The Power of Indigenous Storytelling.

Mobilize in Alberta is providing Indigenous representation through fashion. Their incredible designs empower and educate by uniting through shared identities.

Mo Thunder, from Ontario, is a multidisciplinary artist and visual storyteller who, for the past five years, has created and co-facilitated a community, art and land-based creative program for Indigenous youth aged 18-30 in Tkaronto (Toronto) called Our Stories Our Truths (OSOT). Mo is inspired by many themes influential to their identity, including intergenerational connections, ancestors and kin.

When you give voice to people who are often under or misrepresented, we can build bridges. Travel can do the same. It’s urgent now to be critical of the representation we see in the world. Look around, whose voices are being heard? Who is telling the stories? As we get back to the world again, consider travelling with an open heart, and listen.

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