Brenda Holder, Mahikan Trails
When Brenda Holder, Cree knowledge keeper and founder of Mahikan Trails, began her tourism journey, she heard the word “no” a lot. Seven times, to be exact.
“There was no faith in my abilities to be an Indigenous woman in business, especially within the tourism world,” she says.
“And I could have been very typical of my culture and put my head down in shame and walked away. But I got angry. And I said, ‘No. I’m not going to let you say no to me. You don’t get to say no to me.’”
Today, Mahikan Trails is expanding rapidly—and receiving some well-deserved attention from a growing number of international sources. For Brenda, this means more opportunities to share important teachings with visitors from across Alberta, and around the world.
“This is such an important way for us to connect to community, to continue the stories between youth and elder, to offer an educational opportunity to our guests to know who we are, to help people understand that the land is all that there is.
“We are all about the land. The land is in us. The land is on us. We are part of the land. Our DNA is part of that. Our DNA is part of the wind. Our DNA is part of every leaf that falls from every tree, every breath that each of us breathes.”