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Squamish-Lil’wat Cultural Centre recognized with national tourism award

SLCC named winner of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s National Indigenous Tourism Award on Dec. 1
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Squamish-Lil’wat Cultural Centre cultural leader Te’c Georgina Dan, second from left, accepts the award for National Indigenous Tourism business of the year during a ceremony in Ottawa on Dec. 1.

Whistler’s Squamish-Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) is being honoured on the national stage.

The local institution was named winner of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s National Indigenous Tourism award during a gala held in Ottawa on Wednesday night, Dec. 1. The award was presented by the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC).

SLCC cultural leader Te’c Georgina Dan of the Lil’wat Nation was on hand to accept the award on behalf of her colleagues.

In a statement posted to social media, the SLCC said its team “is proud and joyful” to receive the award.

“Every staff and board member worked with open hearts, innovative spirits, perseverance, and bursts of joy during some heartbreaking times to take us to where we are today,” the statement read, adding, “One of our driving goals as an organization is to bring meaningful employment to Indigenous youth. We look at Georgina’s smile in these pictures and it reaffirms our purpose and regenerates our love for the work we do.”

The ITAC’s president and chief executive officer Keith Henry called the SLCC “a shining example of an Indigenous tourism business” that empowers Indigenous Peoples.

The Centre is “committed to authentically sharing the cultural traditions of the Squamish and Lil’wat Peoples to inspire a better understanding and respect towards Indigenous Peoples,” he said in a release. “The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre has pivoted extremely well to the harsh realities of the COVID-19 pandemic while staying true to their core values of passion, empowerment, accountability, collaboration and equality.”

The award recognizes an Indigenous tourism business that has demonstrated a commitment to the development, promotion and delivery of an authentic, innovative, and enriched Indigenous tourism visitor experience. Award finalists were judged in a series of categories including employment, economic, social and cultural benefits to Indigenous Peoples; innovation and sustainability.

The SLCC won out over fellow finalists Feast Cafe Bistro in Winnipeg and Metis Cultural Days in Saskatoon.