June 20, 2008

Winnipeg, Manitoba – Eastside Aboriginal Sustainable Tourism
(EAST) Inc. will launch a comprehensive Aboriginal tourism
development and marketing initiative, thanks to funding under
Canada-Manitoba Economic Partnership Agreement.

This initiative
will promote the wealth of natural resources and tourism
opportunities in communities along the east side of Lake
Winnipeg, in balance with respect for the land, its residents and

The $245,000 investment for this initiative was announced today
by the Honourable Andrew Swan, Manitoba Minister of
Competitiveness, Training and Trade; and James Bezan, Member of
Parliament for Selkirk-Interlake, on behalf of the Honourable
Rona Ambrose, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada,
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Western
Economic Diversification; and the Honourable Eric Robinson,
Manitoba Minister of Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport.

“Tourism and eco-tourism on the east side of Lake Winnipeg have
unlimited economic potential,” said Minister Swan. “The growing
international awareness of Aboriginal culture coupled with the
natural beauty of the east side represents a significant economic
opportunity for the area. The funding announced today will go to
training and developing strategies that will help develop
potential markets.”

“Today’s tourists want to be engaged with the people and the
places they visit,” said MP Bezan. “Manitoba’s Aboriginal
communities are fortunate to have unique geographical features,
rich cultural diversity and a welcoming hospitality, which are
distinct magnets for Canadian and international tourists. The
Government of Canada is pleased to partner with the provincial
government in support of Aboriginal tourism in Manitoba.”

EAST Inc. will work with the communities to identify Aboriginal
tourism assets, develop tourism business opportunities,
facilitate Aboriginal tourism training, establish a network of
Aboriginal tourism operators, market and advertise tourism
products and increase the number of tourism visits. This
initiative is expected to increase the number of sustainable,
locally owned Aboriginal business enterprises operating in the
east side region and provide new tourism-related employment
opportunities for residents including youth.

“The Government of Manitoba is also proud to announce support for
a new Aboriginal Tourism Training program to help Aboriginal
youth and underemployed individuals begin their journey toward
careers in the tourism industry,” said Minister Robinson. “My
department is providing $150,000 toward the Provincial Aboriginal
Tourism Training Plan, which will provide skills development,
industry orientation and cultural training to individuals in
communities on the East Side of Lake Winnipeg and throughout the
province. The program, administered by the White Buffalo
Spiritual Society, provides a bridge for participants into
entry-level employment opportunities in the tourism sector and
will also help participants to qualify for subsequent enrollment
in formal industry certification programs.”

“Aboriginal tourism development in Manitoba will help to improve
the economies of the First Nations while maintaining culture and
tradition,” said William Young, Chair of EAST Inc. Board of
Directors. “With the support of its partners, provincial,
federal, and industry, Aboriginal tourism will take its rightful
place in the province.”

EAST Inc. is a not-for for profit, community-driven initiative,
created and facilitated by people from the east side region to
support the development and expansion of Aboriginal tourism
businesses primarily in First Nation communities. The executive
committee of EAST Inc. currently includes representatives from
the communities of Berens River, Bloodvein, Brokenhead, Hollow
Water, Little Black River and Poplar River.

Under the Canada-Manitoba Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA),
the governments of Canada and Manitoba are working together and
in partnership with community stakeholders to build the economy
and strengthen communities. These priorities promote economic
growth and diversification in the province.

For more information on this and other projects funded under the
Agreement, please visit:


Help Keep Manitoba Wild


CPAWS Manitoba has helped establish 23 parks and protected areas thanks to people like you.

With your help, we can protect half our lands and waters for future generations of people and wildlife.