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Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre named B.C. tourism's Indigenous Operator of the Year

'Find Indigenous-owned businesses and Cultural Centres. That is reconciliation in action.'
SLCC-2022-Indigenous tourism Award
From left to right, Brenda Baptiste, chair of Indigenous Tourism British Columbia; Member of Parliament Michelle Ferreri; Lil'wat Nation's Moody Dan, manager of operations at Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC); and Heather Paul, SLCC executive director are pictured onstage at the 2022 BC Tourism and Hospitality Awards held in Richmond earlier this March.

The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) is already a special place for many Whistler locals. Now, it is being recognized yet again for its achievements within the wider Indigenous tourism industry. 

The SLCC was named 2022 Indigenous Operator of the Year at the annual BC Tourism and Hospitality Awards earlier this month. The accolade—presented by Indigenous Tourism BC and the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada— “recognizes Indigenous tourism businesses that demonstrate authenticity, cultivate a greater understanding of Indigenous culture, history and traditions, and contribute to the resilience of the local Indigenous community,” according to a release.

The SLCC was previously honoured with the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s National Indigenous Tourism award last December.

SLCC manager of operations Moody Dan accepted the BC Tourism and Hospitality award on behalf of his coworkers, during a ceremony held at the Richmond Conference Centre on March 10.

“I am inspired every day by the young people who are driving the cultural and business direction of the organization. We are bringing this award home to my people. To tell them their perseverance and strength during the last two years has not gone unnoticed,” Dan told the crowd.

“It’s an honour to just be on the list alongside our fellow nominees. To win is humbling. Please support Indigenous-owned organizations. Do your homework when enjoying the hospitality of your travels through life. Know whose land you are on. Find Indigenous-owned businesses and Cultural Centres. That is reconciliation in action.

The SLCC was nominated alongside finalists Gulf Island Seaplanes in Gabriola Island, B.C. and Quaaout Lodge & Talking Rock Resort in Chase, B.C. 

In the release, SLCC executive director Heather Paul dedicated the win to “the staff who persevered over these last two years, facing closures, layoffs, reopening, restrictions and pivotal changes in our business.”

She continued, “the message to them and to everyone is that their work was so much more than just surviving a pandemic. The last two years of our time together as an SLCC family has been award-winning. It’s an honour to work alongside this team.”