Wilderness Guide & Cultural Interpretation Training

Wilderness Guide & Cultural Interpretation Training

This program is for First Nations Youth ages 18-30



YFNCT in partnership with the Wilderness Tourism Association of Yukon (WTAY) are piloting a training and employment program with the purpose of having more First Nation content and people involved in the wilderness tourism industry.  First Nation people in the industry bring a wealth of knowledge and stories from their traditional lands and territories.  These experiences are becoming more highly sought after by the primary types of tourists who vist the Yukon.  Unfortunately, the number of First Nation people working on the front lines with these guests is very limited in number.  The goal of the training and employment program is to open the doors for young First Nation people to enter the industry by removing some of the barriers of the training costs and experience needed to gain a meaningful role with wilderness tourism companies.  The program will be culturally rooted and will be centered around respecting and learning about First Nations cultural protocols.  Thus, the program will work towards the decolonization of the wilderness tourism industry by teaching visitors how to travel respectfully through traditional territories.


Applicants can apply at www.tinyurl.com/yfnwildguide.  Selection will be based on level of interest, previous experience, and ability to participate in the entirety of the program.  A referral from a non-family member is required.  Teachers, Elders, mentors or employers are recommended referrals.  Participation in the employment portion of the training is encouraged but not required.  In order to be eligible for the internship component, participants must successfully complete the entire program and show individual merits that the potential employers are interested in.  There will be a registration fee for the program.  All food and lodging will be provided for the duration of the training.


This training program is centred around respecting and learning about First Nation cultural protocols.  We are working closely with a group of knowledge keepers and Elders to ensure that once the training is over, the participants will have a base of knowledge and understanding from which to teach guests, visitors, and the companies they work for how to move through the traditional territories of Yukon with respect.  Cultural interpretive skills will be covered and nightly campfire sessions will bring the participants together with our cultural facilitators for further learning and connection with their heritage.

The training will consist of many certifications that are basic to participating in hosting wilderness-based guests including Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA 40hr course), Food Safe, Super Host (customer service), risk management, leave no trace, Bear Aware and paddling and river safety.  The training will take place over approximately 4 weeks starting in early May.  Participants will be based out of a camp setting for the duration of the training to gain experience making and breaking camp, cooking for the others and taking part in the campfire evening sessions.


At the conclusion of the training, the participating employers will choose to hire the participants given that they have enthusiastically participated in the training and showed individual merits that will be valuable to the employers.  The participants are not gauranteed employment, as they must be able to perform their employment duties based on merit.  A wage subsidy is offered as an incentive to the employers based on the Youth Employment Centre model.

WTAY has secured at least several employers who have participated in developing the training curriculum and who are willing to offer a paid internship to the participants of the program.

Following the program’s conclusion at the end of Summer 2018, YFNCT will follow up with a survey to assess the sucess of the program including whether the employers and participants intend to continue pursuing the goals of this project and how our organization can help support those goals.

In future we hope to see more First Nation people pursuing jobs in the tourism industry able to welcome guests to their territory, as well as more meaningful relationships developed between First Nations and wilderness operators focused on repect and protocol.


For more information, please contact Caili Steel at tourism@yfnct.ca or (867)-667-7698 ext. 201