With strong leadership from their Chief Clarence Louie and by having a community consensus on broad business direction through a shared decision-making processes the Osoyoos Indian Band has achieved economic independence through their sustainable tourism developments. They have been able to achieve self-reliance through economic development and preserve the first nation culture through the creation of jobs on their lands for future generations.
The band has established partnerships with businesses, government, and industry experts. Through leases and joint ventures they have built meaningful business relationships that have created social and employment opportunities for both natives and non-natives in the South Okanagan. These relationships have led to community benefits of job opportunities, community-based training for band members, protection of cultural sites and traditional land uses. This case study showcases the benefits from having business partnerships and consistent leaderships in terms of reaching community goals like economic self-sufficiency.
The Osoyoos Indian Band combine wine tourism and First Nations culture in a variety of offerings. The following are examples of their sustainable tourism developments:
- Nk’Mip Resort – opened in 1982 the resort has a RV park with yurts, tenting, RV pads and a club house for year round tourism.
- Nk’Mip Cellars – the first aboriginal-owned and operated winery. The winery is housed in an 18,000 square foot architecturally designed facility that displays First Nations art and artifacts.
- Sonora Dunes Golf Course opened to the public in 2004, followed by the launch of the four-star Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort and Spa. The resort restaurants uses local indigenous ingredients.
- Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre – provides visitors with an authentic and unique experience that promotes respect and understanding of the living culture of the Okanagan people and the desert lands that sustain them.
(Photo courtesy of http://oibdc.ca/)