APRIL 20, 2023— At the end of day on Monday, March 6, 2023, Scott Collegiate Food Tourism and Hospitality Pathway student Phoenix Isnana, alum Olivia Isnana and teacher Kelley Christopherson made the journey to Winnipeg, Manitoba to attend the 2023 International Indigenous Tourism Conference (IITC) on Treaty 1 Territory. The following is written by Phoenix about her experience.
“At this conference, I was given the opportunity to indulge my craving for learning by cooking alongside 11 Indigenous chefs from all across North America. We were cooking food for the opening reception— Taste of Turtle Island—which showcased the food from each chef’s culture and background.”
“Each chef had their own story, and each story had different sides (the side they show to the audience, the side they show to friends and the side they show to just themselves). Within the limited time I had to work with them, I found my vigour for learning once more. They inspired me to never give up, to never change myself for anyone but myself, to put my culture first, that it’s okay to be vulnerable when learning and, of course, I learned to cook with positive emotion and prayer.”
“After the Taste of Turtle Island, IITC held many sessions throughout the next two days that had me looking forward to a brighter future while acknowledging the past. The sessions that stood out to me the most were VISION 2030: Making Canada the World Leader in Indigenous Tourism, What’s Your Story, Reconciliation in Action: Rome Presentation, and the breakout session Culinary—Working with Community. Each had their important main ideas, but from my perspective, I was listening to the spirits, the energy and the emotion. The feelings that surrounded the speakers/presenters for what they were saying, mixed with the collective reaction to the crowd captivated me. It was a sea of colourful flavour that held intense feelings of excitement, anticipation for the future and eagerness to see our culture thrive once again.”
“The beautiful mirage that came from everyone in the audience had become unified into the understanding that we as Indigenous people have taken another step towards reconciliation and being recognized for who we are.”