At Pursuit, we are honored to build upon our more than century-long friendship with the Stoney Nakoda Nations — known as the original “people of the mountains” — while fostering new friendships with Indigenous communities in whose traditional territories we operate.
Founded on trust, collaboration and respect, the significance of these relationships is far-reaching and enduring, from Jim and Bill Brewster’s 19th century guiding partnership with Stoney First Nation member William Twin to today’s award-winning multimedia collaborations.
The gift of storytelling, bestowed by our Indigenous friends, is a powerful thread that deepens our connection with the land, empowering us to share cultural history with our guests truthfully and authentically.
Nightrise, the Banff Gondola’s immersive multimedia experience atop Sulphur Mountain, epitomizes our friendship and collaboration. Created in partnership with the Stoney Nations and Montreal-based Moment Factory, the winter exhibit marries light displays and soundscapes with traditional Stoney language and drumming.
Cherith Mark, language and culture coordinator at the Stoney Education Authority, enhanced the mountaintop offering with a cultural training session surrounding the traditional language and stories from Nightrise with Banff Gondola staff.
“Nightrise holds a special place in my heart,” says Mark. “Through a triad of friendship and collaboration, we have created an award-winning, dynamic experience showcasing the Stoney Nakoda language and living culture. Experiencing our ancestral stories, passed down since time immemorial through our elders and knowledge keepers, on a larger-than-life multi-sensory stage, is powerful and awe-inspiring.”
Indigenous Tourism Alberta recently recognized Nightrise’s success with a 2022 Allyship Award. Pursuit celebrated the achievement by hosting a commemorative dinner at the Banff Gondola for our Stoney and Moment Factory friends. Parks Canada president and CEO Ron Hallman also joined in the festivities.
Annual Indigenous-led cultural training programs, attended by Pursuit team members, weave Stoney storytelling and cultural history into Banff Jasper Collection’s Open Top Touring, Maligne Lake and Lake Minnewanka cruises. Traditional language and learnings from these interactive sessions foster a deeper understanding for our team members, resulting in a richer and more memorable guest experience.
Pursuit-Indigenous collaborations extend beyond guest-centric experiences, including the 2022 Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award-winning Cooks with Stones program. This annual culinary focused internship welcomed 12 Stoney youths into Pursuit Banff restaurants — Brazen, Farm + Fire and Sky Bistro — to learn kitchen basics and food preparation techniques in summer 2022. In addition to four weeks of technical training, the students participate in two weeks of traditional land-based cooking during the Stoney harvest season.
Another demonstration of our commitment to friendship and reconciliation is the Treaty 8 flag flying over the Forest Park Hotel in Jasper. The historic flag-raising ceremony in October 2022 opened with a traditional prayer from Elder Mike Beaver, followed by the flag raising in three intervals with accompanying Indigenous drumming and songs.
“Delivering authentic, world-class experiences is the heart of Pursuit’s Banff Jasper Collection,” says Alex Grant, Banff Jasper Collection VP of operations. “Our guests and team members travel from near and far to adventure in the breathtaking Canadian Rockies, and it’s our absolute honor to share the stories, language and cultural traditions generously gifted to us by our Indigenous friends and partners.”
We are building a team of passionate people determined to make a difference in the places we love. Every effort counts. Meet more of them here and discover how Promise to Place is the real deal.