Sébastien is a tall, strapping man with a charm and energy that are impossible to resist. A proud member of the Huron-Wendat Nation located near Québec City, he shares fascinating anecdotes with us about his adventures on multiple continents.
Gifted with exceptional athletic talent, Sébastien excelled in basketball and soccer. Born in Québec City in December 1980, his first summer job took him to the Shenzhen region of China in 1999 as a member of a professional inline skating show. He performed on stage with young athletes from all over the world, including Russians, Mexicans and Cubans. He stayed in the Middle Kingdom for one year and has vivid memories of China’s highly diverse cultures and incredible public markets.
He left for Europe in 2002, where he once again worked as a professional inline skater. In 2005, he obtained a scholarship in a sports-study program from the Coastal Academy college in South Carolina. He then focused on learning business while honing his golf skills.
After working on developing indigenous tourist destinations in Québec from 2013 to 2018, he decided to take on the challenge of galvanizing the indigenous tourism industry throughout Canada. Today, in his role as chief marketing officer for the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, he promotes tourist destinations in all regions of the country to people around the world.
“Indigenous peoples have managed to develop and preserve their culture, arts, languages and respectful relationship with Mother Earth. Now, they’re developing a sustainable tourism industry and have their own business networks.
Indigenous nations across Canada are now home to hundreds of charismatic, visionary leaders. He mentions the former Manitoba Court of Queen’s judge and senator Murray Sinclair, who teaches all Canadians about respect for indigenous values, the rights of indigenous peoples, support for youth and access to education.
“Throughout the country, preserving spoken languages and culture continues to be of paramount importance. Social and economic development and maintaining the sovereignty of the nations, led by 635 chiefs across Canada, notably depend on recognizing indigenous peoples’ rights to the land where they live. What’s more, solutions for reconciliation with governmental authorities must start at the grass roots level, meaning local individuals and communities.” To young people he says: “Be proud of who you are and where you come from; don’t be too hard on yourself; take action against prejudice and racism; and lead by example.”