Reclaiming a narrative through tourism


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This article was published 07/04/2017 (2128 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Dene Sinclair wants to help Indigenous communities tell their own stories, and she’ll be speaking to that idea when she takes part in TEDxWinnipeg on June 6.

Sinclair, a south St. Vital resident, was born and raised in Selkirk, Man. The 37-year-old has already been honoured with prestigious recognitions including being named one of Manitoba’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2016, and was a 2016 finalist of the YM-YWCA’s Manitoba Women of Distinction.

The tourism marketing consultant and graduate student of communications, tourism and Indigenous studies is passionate about exploring the connections between tourism, an industry with extractive and exploitative practices towards Indigenous people, and the ongoing reclamation of story, language, land and place by Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Supplied photo Dene Sinclair is among the lineup of speakers for TEDxWinnipeg.

“I believe it is important to understand where we come from to see where we are going. The reality is that the travel industry hasn’t always been good to Indigenous people in this region, and that I am interested in supporting communities to tell their own stories,” Sinclair said.

Sinclair travels over 150 days a year to do the work she loves to do. Despite her extensive travel, she admits she’s still a nervous flier. She spent the last decade working at Travel Manitoba and decided she needed a new challenge last summer.

“In my work, I want to find ways to improve communication, get to know my neighbours and make our communities better. I have travelled the world to tell people about our home and believe that we all are better by lifting each other up. I will talk more, to believe more, to trust more.

“I love watching TED talks (who doesn’t?) and have been to a number of previous TEDx Winnipeg events. I love the concept of sharing ideas and watching them grow as a community, I think this is integral to our success together. I am honoured my community and neighbours believe in me.”

Her upcoming TEDx talk will explore how Indigenous people can reframe and reclaim their own narrative through tourism. Do Indigenous people travel differently? Will they be better visitors? Can travel’s demand for exoticism ever allow Indigenous people to be anything but an outsider? These are some of the questions Sinclair will speak about and try to answer.

“I want us to think about how we see ourselves as Canadians — who is inside that definition and who is outside. It will be wonderful to share the stage with many of the very smart people I am having the pleasure of getting to know.”

TEDxWinnipeg takes place June 6 at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg. For more information, visit
Twitter: @LanceWPG

Janine LeGal

Janine LeGal
St. Boniface community correspondent

Janine LeGal is a community correspondent for St. Boniface who also writes the These Old Houses column for our Community Homes section.

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