Two members of the Squamish Nation have received awards for their work in Aboriginal tourism.
Deanan Lewis, from the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, and Steward Nahanee, from the company Cedars Us, accepted their awards this month at the fifth Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia ceremony in Vancouver.
Said the association’s chair Brenda Baptists: “Aboriginal tourism is founded on a spirit of collaboration, a drive to create economic opportunity, an urgency to support cultural stewardship, and an excitement to strengthen a sustainable tourism industry in the international marketplace for the benefit of all British Columbians.”
“This event is a tribute to those who are leading the way.”
Nine awards were given out at the ceremony.
Lewis was honored with the Young Adult Achievement Award for her work with local youth. She is an accomplished tour guide in rafting and sea kayaking and has been instrumental in the Squamish Nation’s Aboriginal Youth Ambassador program. She also works with the Ayateway Camp, guiding at-risk youth through the traditional Chehailis territory and teaching them about Squamish Nation culture.
Lewis has also been involved with the Squamish Lil’wat Culture Centre in Whistler since its inception and will work there as a guide when the centre opens in June.
Nahanee, also of the Squamish Nation, received the Power of Education Award at the ceremony for his seven-year-old company, Cedars Us. The company produces traditional drum frames and cedar bark carvings, holding workshops for both local and national audiences. Cedars Us also recently opened up a new shop, which will produce drum frames and canoe paddles.
This spring, Nahanee is travelling to the British Isles to participate in a canoe journey, and Cedars Us is making 200 paddles to present to dignitaries in Britain during the trip.
Other recipients at the awards ceremony came from the Sto:lo Nation, Cariboo Chilcotin, Kitselas First Nation, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, the Haida, Upper Similkameen Indian Band and the Osoyoos Indian Band.