(Oaxaca, Mexico) –BC Métis Federation President Mr. Keith Henry was invited, in his role with the Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia, as a special guest by the Commission for the Development of Indigenous Development (CDI) to provide a presentation about how Aboriginal cultural tourism continues to develop in British Columbia and Canada. The conference was held in city of Oaxaca which is also the capital of the state of Oaxaca located in the southern part of the country.
CDI is an organization mandated by the government of Mexico to support indigenous communities throughout the thirty two (32) states in Mexico. There is large Indigenous population in Mexico with many diverse communities. There is an estimated eighteen different Indigenous groups in the state of Oaxaca along with an estimated population over 600,000 people.
The focus of this conference was to further review how indigenous tourism can be enhanced or further developed in Mexico, with a focus on Oaxaca due to the large and diverse Indigenous cultures. There were several hundred delegates and the presentation I provided on behalf of AtBC focused on marketing and strategies designed by AtBC to continue to build Aboriginal tourism in British Columbia/Canada.
BC Mètis Federation President Keith Henry said; “This was a tremendous opportunity to get to learn about other Indigenous cultures. I have been to Mexico before but was not aware of the diversity of their Indigenous people. There are many different Indigenous communities and Nations who comprise their Indigenous people. I found several similarities in terms of the diversity of their Indigenous people and our Aboriginal people in Canada. ”
BC Mètis Federation President Henry added; “Although this presentation was about tourism a delegate asked me a pointed question because I was from Canada. He was very concerned about Canadian mining companies exploiting their resources. While I was not fully aware of the situation, it did not surprise me in light of the current resource development being forced in many sectors in Canada today on our own Aboriginal communities without the concept of free, prior and informed consent. I keep wondering to myself what happened to the image of Canada on the international stage? This is the second such experience I have personally had attending international conferences when people discover I am from Canada. It is reassuring to know our Mètis members and communities in BC have put environmental concerns and sustainability as a priority and value. Environmental sustainability is certainly a priority to many other countries.”
BC Mètis Federation President Henry concluded; “I was proud to wear my BC Mètis Federation Mètis sash and I gifted this sash to a local Indigenous elder. He was a very knowledgeable man who shared some time and stories with me about their challenges as a community. We became instant friends because his stories sounded so familiar to our struggles. This was a great experience and it brought a sense of assurance to realize our challenges are certainly not unique. We just need to keep moving forward.”
For more information about the BC Mètis Federation please review our website www.bcmetis.com.
BC Métis Federation
Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2
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[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-Press-Release-November-19th-2012-Oaxaca-Elder-Presentation.pdf” style=”download”]BCMF Press Release November 19th, 2012 Oaxaca Elder Presentation[/ilink]