19 Jun Indigeno Travel
Indigeno Travel is North America’s only national, full-service, Indigenous owned travel agency. Indigeno offers online booking tools, leisure, corporate, and Indigenous government travel services to Indigenous and non-Indigenous clients. Indigeno is providing access and visibility to authentic Indigenous tourism experiences to travellers worldwide.
“Travel is now coming back in a big way,” says Dennis Meeches, Incoming Chair of Indigeno, and former Chief of Long Plain First Nation. “Indigeno offers a choice for Canadians of goodwill towards Indigenous people.”
Indigeno Travel is the brainchild of Darrell Phillips, aka Little Black Bear, a master facilitator, community organizer, and consultant to Indigenous communities from Hollow Water First Nation, and Chris Maxfield, who had devoted over two decades to providing pensions and benefits to First Nations communities. Indigeno Travel began as a passion project with an economic and social purpose: to create meaningful careers for our people, and to help all Canadians take part in Reconciliation through travel.
“When you travel with Indigeno, you’re helping us grow what we believe is destined to become an iconic success story in the emerging Indigenous economy,” says Chris Maxfield, Co-Founder, and VP of Business Development. Maxfield is carrying on the dream he and co-founder Darrell Phillips created. Sadly, in 2017, Phillips succumbed to an illness and Chris pledged he would continue the business with Darrell’s wife, Charlene Phillips, who is active in the business and sits on its board. “The Indigenous economy grows when we use our own services,” says Charlene. “Right now, Indigenous governments and organizations spend millions of dollars every year for travel. These dollars leave the communities, never to return. When you use Indigeno, you reverse this economic leakage and allow the benefits to stay in the communities, rather than going to large corporations in the US.” Indigeno is addressing community economic leakage by providing a solution for Indigenous led and Indigenous owned travel.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #92, on business and reconciliation, is at the core of Indigeno’s Travel’s mission. Indigeno honours this call to action through its plans to hire and train over 100 Indigenous individuals in the travel industry in the coming years.
“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has challenged Canadians to make economic Reconciliation an integral part of the national healing process,” notes Indigeno Board Director Jessica Dumas, the first Indigenous woman to have chaired the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. “Canadians want to do the right thing. Indigeno helps them fulfill that commitment, whether by booking a family vacation, arranging flights and accommodations for a large institutional event, or handling the complex travel requirements of a corporation or government.”
Indigeno feels that bringing non-Indigenous and Indigenous people together, when purchasing travel and providing service, fosters greater understanding, tolerance, and acceptance of each other, in the spirit of Economic Reconciliation. They believe that creating more personal interactions between Indigenous & non-Indigenous people helps change perceptions and reduce negative stereotypes about Indigenous people.
Indigeno’s commitment to fostering greater understanding between people extends to its offer of Indigenous tourism experiences. Indigeno Travel facilitates ethical, sustainable tourism to meet the worldwide demand for immersive, authentic Indigenous tourism experiences.
Travel, at its best, makes lifelong friendships. Indigeno offers both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people the opportunity to Explore the Possibilities together. Indigeno is actively leading in innovation in the emerging 100 billion dollar Indigenous economy.