When event planners and their clients are interested in providing attendees with unique cultural experiences and opportunities to give back to the community, head to Canada where a number of indigenous communities have built resorts, hotels, and event venues, often on reserve land, to do just that.
Aurora Village (Northwest Territories)
"Aurora Village is entirely Aboriginal-owned," an event venue and a place where indigenous culture blends with modern amenities.
It's also a perfect place to view natural wonders like the Aurora Borealis and the midnight sun. Guests can relax in traditional indigenous-style teepees that are heated. Each teepee has a heated wood stove, hot drinks, tables, and chairs. Private teepees accommodate 2 - 5 guests, while standard teepees (for 16 - 24 guests) and flagship teepees (for 24 - 36 guests) are for groups.
Aurora Village can accommodate up to 400 people for indoor/outdoor corporate events. At the lodge, 150 guests can enjoy a sit-down dinner indoors where northern favourites like Arctic char, reindeer stew, bison, and Great Slave Lake white fish are served. Every step has been taken to ensure the comfort of guests (even the seats are heated).
Activities include guided snowshoe adventures, dog sledding, and snowmobiling.
Skwachàys Lodge and Gallery (Vancouver, BC)
Dubbed Canada's first Aboriginal arts hotel, Skwachàys Lodge, operated by the Vancouver Native Housing Society (VNHS), is located in Vancouver's historic district. The 18-room boutique hotel, with rooms designed by 6 artists in residence, is located on the top 3 floors.
Under a social enterprises model, when corporate groups stay at Skwachàys Lodge, they give back to the community by helping to subsidize 24 affordable housing units on the lower floors of the lodge for members of the urban Aboriginal community. Art sold through the Urban Aboriginal Fair Trade Gallery on the first floor subsidizes the lodge and makes it possible for the artists to be self-sustaining.
Casino Rama Resort (Orillia, Ontario)
Casino Rama is located about 2 hours North of Toronto near Orillia, Ontario. It gets its name from being located on the reserve land of Chippewas of Rama First Nation. The venue is a 300-room, all-suite hotel with 8 function rooms, 8 restaurants, and full-service spa. The 5,000-seat Entertainment Centre regularly welcomes headliners like Michael Bolton, Tony Bennett, The Beach Boys, and The Monkees. It has a full Accessible Customer Service policy.
Casino Rama has Ontario's only First Nations-owned commercial casino. Events like the Rama First Nation Annual Powwow take place onsite annually. Groups looking for CSR initiatives will be interested in knowing that they can get involved in the projects in which Casino Rama participates to support health, education and employment opportunities in the local community.
Consult the Cvent Event Blog for Indigenous Events and Business Meeting Planning.