“The most effective contemporary Aboriginal leaders are visionaries, with big dreams for their nations and organizations. They are a new breed of leaders who are thinkers and doers, committed to life-long learning, and have the best interests of their community at heart. They are risk-takers, entrepreneurial in spirit, and strategic thinkers. They do not fear change, but rather embrace the challenges they face, and turn threats into opportunities.”
– Indigenous Arts at Banff Centre, Alberta
However, in these communities there are still are many individuals that are appointed to positions of leadership without any formal training or education in management and administration. They are at a disadvantage without such knowledge and skills, especially in a rapidly-changing world where Aboriginal and northern tourism is getting more and more attention and interest all around the planet. In this global ecosystem that is inter-related, market-driven, and highly technological, all the hospitality and tourism organizations must keep pace and deal with many different operational, cultural, and social challenges – as well as clients’ expectations! if they want their tourism industry to grow successfully.
Over the past years, we have been supporting the development of many tourism projects in the native communities of James Bay, Quebec. We cherish the relationship of trust that we developed, while we were also learning about different aspects of the native culture, the language and the aboriginal traditions. Through our journey to the North, we developed the following key skills:
We are good, active listeners.
We honor and hold a deep respect for the organizations we work with.
We are warm and caring with all people.
We feel comfortable acting as an equal with our collaborators, we work as a team.
We believe it is important to be genuine and non-judgmental.
We believe that many answers and motivations lie within the people we work with, we help them reach their full potential.
We are flexible and accept to deal with the unexpected.
We understand that implementing change and willingness to change might be difficult for some people; we are patient and able to see progress even in the smallest actions.
We are sensitive to our collaborators’ verbal and nonverbal behaviors and will do everything we can to help and support them through their endeavors.
A few organizations that we worked with:
Hotel Waastooskuun, Chisasibi
Miichiwaap Restaurant, Chisasibi
Maquatua Inn, Wemindji
Auberge Eneyaauhkaat Lodge, Eastmain
Auberge Mistissini Lodge, Mistissini
Department of Tourism from the Cree Nation of Chisasibi
Auberge Kanio-Kashee Lodge, Waskaganish
Auberge Capissisit Lodge, Ouje-Bougoumou
Agence de Voyages Eeyou Istchee Baie James, Ouje-Bougoumou
Cree Outfitting and Tourism Association, Ouje-Bougoumou