Ktunaxa Regional Branding Initiative
The Ktunaxa Nation Economic and Investment Sector is engaged in Ktunaxa Nation Regional Branding. The success largely relies on the engagement with the Ktunaxa Communities. The end result will be a Ktunaxa brand that supports the development of marketable products and experiences and the emergence of the Ktunaxa owned businesses that will fit within the BC and Canadian tourism market.
The Ktunaxa Nation Council identified the development of the regional brand as a strategic priority following the review of the Economic Sector Situation Analysis: Ktunaxa Nation Economy, Economic Sector Governance, and Collective Business document. Communities identified tourism development that is supported by Ktunaxa values as a priority for the future sustainability and growth of the Ktunaxa Nation Economy. We will support the development of Ktunaxa tourism enterprises and business ventures by creating a marketable Ktunaxa Regional Brand, which includes the ongoing management and administration of the brand.
Ktunaxa Nation Economic and Investment Sector developed the Ktunaxa Regional Branding Initiative (KRBI) to help with the promotion of the Kootenay Region, through partnerships with organizations which promote the various regions of BC to the world. The Ktunaxa have been largely invisible in their own homelands, not only to the visitors of the region, but to their very own neighbors as well. The time for this to change is now!
In the fall of 2017 the Ktunaxa Nation Council (KNC) partnered with Kootenay Rockies Tourism to engage in an inventory of who in the business industry has information on the Ktunaxa and what information they possess. Our findings were not surprising and indicated that a number of local businesses share and represent information about the Ktunaxa, much of which has not been validated. The next step was to ask what information they would like from the Ktunaxa to fill or correct the gaps in their knowledge. This began inter-sectoral collaboration within the Ktunaxa Nation Council on what information is available to produce material. The findings were immense and have spurred much conversation within the KNC.
Today, the lead staff member has gone through many exercises to demonstrate the support for (and need of) the Ktunaxa to be the leaders in telling the Ktunaxa story in the promotion of the Region. Kootenay Rockies Tourism and Destination BC have demonstrated a great interest in assisting in this process.
The Ktunaxa have been largely invisible in their own homelands, not only to the visitors of the region, but to their very own neighbors as well. The time for this to change is now!
The mandate is to identify and assist market ready Ktunaxa businesses, develop an authentic marketable Ktunaxa product that is of true representation of the Ktunaxa that will ensure the Ktunaxa are no longer invisible in their own home land.
Scope is to ensure the products signify Ktunaxa integrity.
The team is made up of Ktunaxa Nation Council sector departments to ensure a collaborative effort on the final outcome of the Ktunaxa product:
- Traditional Knowledge and Language Sector - Language renewal is a broad challenge, which can only be accomplished through a broad cooperative effort of entire communities.
- Economic Sector - To cultivate a healthy, self-sufficient Ktunaxa economy. Along with communities, partners and neighbours, achieve sustainable economic growth through equitable access to economic resources and opportunities, while respecting Ktunaxa culture and values.
- Corporate Sector - It is the goal of the Ktunaxa Nation Council and its member Bands to work with our neighbours and build strong relationships to strengthen the regional economy within the Kootenays.
- Lands Sector - The mandate of the Ktunaxa Lands and Resource Agency is to ensure that the lands and resources within the Ktunaxa Territory are effectively managed and protected for the benefit of the citizens, communities and government of the Ktunaxa Nation.
Through intersectoral relationship collaboration and meeting with the external business sector it is apprent that mechanisms to engage with the Ktunaxa on a business level is missing. Janice Alpine, Business Development Officer/Tourism Engagement said, "this is becuse we haven't done this type of relationship builing with our neighbors before. We are essentially making history. This is a great exercise because it has exposed the many processes and prtotocols that were never in place and now need to be addressed."
The next step is to work with the Ktunaxa artists and service providers. The Ktunaxa Nation Council Economic Sector was successful in their application to the Rural Dividend Program to hire a Ktunaxa Regional Branding Initiative Tourism Engagement Coordinator and Community Ambassadors. The Ambassadors will engage Ktunaxa artists in all mediums from; seamstresses, painters of all mediums, carvers/wood workers, beaders, jewelers to story tellers of the tremendous possibilities Indigenous Tourism holds for them.
It was once said by our lands Director, "We need to groom our story tellers." This will be the beginning of doing an audit on Ktunaxa product and service providers.
- Develop standards for authentic Ktunaxa product
- Develop transferable product models to be shared among similar businesses
- Develop a regional marketing strategy
- Ensure a world view of the Ktunaxa – the 3 Ps (Product, Perspective and Purpose)
- Ensure the Ktunaxa communities are satisfied with the Tourism concept