Yellowknife tourism brochure misrepresents Indigenous culture: business owners - APTN NewsAPTN News

Yellowknife tourism brochure misrepresents Indigenous culture: business owners


Charlotte Morritt-Jacobs
APTN National News
When Stacie Smith glanced over the new Yellowknife tourism brochure she couldn’t believe it.

Pictured is an Indigenous woman dressed in buckskin with a painted face kneeling beside a horse.

“It is a blatant disrespect and disregard for the First Nations culture we have here in the Northwest Territories,” said Smith, owner of Flowers North.

“This poor horse would have died here in the North and this poor lady would have froze her butt off.”

This is the second year Smith has used Enroute Mapping, an advertising agency from Alberta.

Smith said the company gave her the impression from the photos would be from the North, representing the North.

“We have so many photographers and artists here in the North. There are hand games, assemblies and we always have news reporters out there taking photographs of these events,” she said.

“So there is an abundance of photos of our culture. For them to take that specific photo is ridiculous.”

Smith is not alone.

Jawah Bercier agreed the brochure, which folds out into a map of the city, misrepresents local First Nations culture.

“We know the difference and to show other people the difference is part of learning and part of teaching our culture,” said Bercier, co-owner of Birtchwood Coffee.

But the southern imagery doesn’t end with the woman and the horse. The brochure also depicts snowshoes and teepees that are not regionally accurate, as well as fish not often found in the NWT.

Smith emailed Enroute Mapping venting her frustration.

She learned the photos were picked from stock photo service.

Smith said the company thought the picture of the woman and horse was beautiful.

“She has a daughter-in-law who is First Nations so she thought it was completely appropriate. She is a proud Quookum which is great but it has nothing to do with our culture,” said Smith.

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One Response to “Yellowknife tourism brochure misrepresents Indigenous culture: business owners”

    Brian September 13, 2017 at 4:52 pm #

    This really does appear inappropriate. I hope the company rectifies their mistakes and apologizes for its assumptions. Really well-written, to-the-point, article.