“Right now, the poorest people in the region – the Indigenous people – are subsidizing the conditions that enable tourism to thrive here, but they’re not benefiting from it, and they’re disproportionately impacted from it.” – Julian Hockin-Grant



How can settlers in the tourism industry support First Nations communities? In Tofino, one impactful approach is through the Tribal Park Allies program developed by the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, on whose territory the village is located. This initiative enables businesses to pledge support including a stewardship fee that provides much-needed funding for Indigenous-led projects.

Our guest, Julian Hockin-Grant, is at the forefront of fostering allyship between Tofino’s tourism industry and the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. As the co-creator of the Tribal Park Allies program, Julian and his business, Allied Certifications, collaborates closely with figures like Saya Masso, who we heard from in a previous episode, to lead Tofino’s tourism businesses in building a coalition of allies.

In this conversation, Julian shares invaluable insights and advice for fellow settlers seeking to become better allies to First Nations, offering practical guidance on fostering meaningful partnerships and driving positive change within the tourism sector.

In this episode of Travel Beyond, you’ll learn:

  • How Julian’s business began with the creation of Tribal Park Allies, in collaboration with Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation.
  • Why he’s hoping to replicate that project’s model with other First Nations communities.
  • Why tourism disproportionately impacts Indigenous communities in negative ways.
  • How the funding Tribal Park Allies brings in can compound as it keeps Tla-o-qui-aht culture and restoration projects going.
  • Some surprising commonalities between Tofino and Bhutan.



Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favourite podcast player to join us on this journey.

With thanks to Tourism Tofino for sponsoring this podcast season, and to the many community members, including leaders and Elders from Tla-o-qui-aht and Ahousaht First Nations, for entrusting us with their stories. 


Show notes

Allied Certifications – Julian’s company

Travel Beyond episode with Saya Masso

Tribal Park Allies – An allyship certification program collecting pledges from local tourism businesses, including a stewardship fee.

Video trailer for the Načiks (Tofino) season of Travel Beyond


Episode transcript

Julian Hockin-Grant: Right now, the poorest people in the region, the Indigenous people, are subsidizing the conditions that enable tourism to thrive here. But they’re not benefiting from it, and they’re disproportionately impacted from it.

There’s an opportunity for people to come here and have a fire lit within their heart, reigniting that sense of responsibility for where you live and for the future generations of people who are going to inherit what you leave behind. 

David Archer: Hello and welcome back to Travel Beyond, where we partner with leading destinations to bring you inspiring solutions to the greatest challenges facing communities and the planet. I’m David Archer from Destination Think, recording from Daajing Giids, British Columbia, which is a village in Haida Gwaii, the territory of the Haida Nation.

Tyler Robinson: And I’m Tyler Robinson, Climate Strategist at Destination Think. I’m recording from Toronto, the traditional territory of many nations, including the Mississauga of the Credit, the Anishinaabe, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples. On this show, we look at the role of travel and highlight destinations that are global leaders.

We talk to the change makers who are addressing regenerative travel through their actions and communities, often from the bottom up.

David Archer: And we’re actively looking for the best examples of efforts to regenerate economies, communities, and ecosystems. So do reach out if you have a story to share. You can reach me at David [at] DestinationThink.com.

Tyler Robinson: Over the last couple of episodes, Rodney Payne has spoken with leaders within the Tla-o-qui-aht Nation to learn a little about Tla-o-qui-aht history. And we’ve learned how the long history of caring for the land is the backdrop for the modern day Tribal Parks system, along with the stewardship action happening through Tribal Parks Guardians and Tribal Parks Allies.

Today’s guest has played an important role in bringing the Tribal Parks Allies project to fruition. Julian Hockin-Grant is the owner of a company called Allied Certifications that aims to help First Nations benefit from economic activity on their lands, replicating some of the good things happening here in other communities.

David Archer: Yeah, and Julian is a Canadian settler who has made Načiks, or Tofino, his home, along with his family. And, by the way, Načiks is the original name for the site where Tofino is today. Julian is working to grow allyship with his First Nations neighbours, quite literally, through signing businesses up to become Tribal Parks Allies.

From a settler point of view, it’s an interesting model. And he notes that Indigenous communities often bear disproportionate impacts from industries operating on their lands. Tyler, how are you seeing that pattern play out in tourism and travel?

Tyler Robinson: Yeah, this is really no different than how it plays out in many other industries and throughout our society. It’s similar to how marginalized or oppressed groups of people often bear the disproportionate impacts of things like climate change or, or having various industries operate on their lands.

And it particularly plays out in travel and tourism due to environmental degradation, loss of access to traditional lands, cultural appropriation or commodification, and just general economic disparities. Tourism development can lead to environmental damage quite often. And, and this really affects, Indigenous people’s way of life, because their life is really inseparable from the natural environment. 

Also, the commercialization of cultural traditions and sacred sites can undermine cultural integrity. And unfortunately, even when efforts are made to create Indigenous experiences or offer cultural products, the economic benefits of tourism frequently bypass Indigenous communities that they’re meant to serve or meant to celebrate. And this really exacerbates inequalities. So addressing these impacts really requires considered, inclusive planning and respect for Indigenous rights and participation.

David Archer: Yeah, yeah, and it probably also means accepting responsibility as a settler, to learn about the history, the Indigenous history of the place you’re in, and maybe about how my travelling or my tourism business affects Indigenous communities, and then taking that knowledge and figuring out how to be part of the solution.

We hear a lot about responsible travel too, which can represent a lot of things, and maybe that’s best summed up by respect for people and place. Julian says he wants to reignite a sense of responsibility for the places we call home and the places where we travel.

Tyler Robinson: Yeah, that’s, that’s exactly it. If we can get this piece right around respect, I think it’ll go a long way to addressing many of the ways that travel can impact a place.

David Archer: All right, let’s join Rodney now, speaking with Julian Hockin-Grant of Allied Certifications. 


Julian Hockin-Grant: My name is Julian Hockin-Grant. I’ve got my own little company called Allied Certifications. And really that whole company was built around, I think the potential that I see for the Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Park Allies program that I’ve been co-creating with the Nation here in Tofino.

Rodney Payne: And where are we right now? 

Julian Hockin-Grant: We are in Tofino, B.C. on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Largest intact tract of old-growth rainforest left on Vancouver Island.

Rodney Payne: And what’s your connection to this area?

Julian Hockin-Grant: I was 14 when my family moved to the island. And I think this is probably the first place where really felt like I was at home here. I grew up in northern BC. Later on, like, in my undergrad I came out here with one of my mentors, Leigh Joseph from the Squamish First Nation. She’s an ethnobiologist. And that was what I was really interested in my undergrad. And I ended pursuing a master’s degree in Anthropology, Environment, and Development. Which is how I ended up here, doing my thesis, trying to learn about the Tribal Parks, and where they were coming from, and where they were going, and what were the obstacles stopping them from achieving their vision.

Rodney Payne: What’s your favorite time of year here? 

Julian Hockin-Grant: Maybe like right now. Tourism season, the summer, it’s pretty busy around here. Like, Parks Canada has this car counter, like a little 

hose across the road, and it counts every car that drives over it and they it, like 1. and they say that like, 1.2 million vehicles come and go in the summer. You gotta line up for a half hour for a cup of coffee. 

But uh, in the shoulder season it’s quiet, t’s cold. the sun is bright when it’s out. And the surf is better. And I love getting out in the water, because it’s one of the few places where you can’t take your phone and where you, like, really disconnect and reconnect or whatever. So it is a very special destination and I know it’s not just the marketing that brought people here and made this place world famous.

Rodney Payne: You’ve spent some time in Bhutan. Can you tell me what took you there and what was it like? 

Julian Hockin-Grant: Yeah. So in that same undergrad program, with Quest University in Squamish, another very beautiful place. There was a rare a opportunity with an exchange program to go study at the Royal Thimphu College. One thing that makes Bhutan really special is they’ve got a really awesome tourism policy different from a lot of other small Asian countries, where they went for like the high impact, low volume, positive idea of impact.

Like they charge $250 a day for tourists to go there. So I knew that if I didn’t go as a student, I would never be able to afford to go there at all. So I took that opportunity to go, and that’s where I met my wife. And now we have a couple little babies. We’re going there in like two weeks, for a couple months. So that’s my, that’s my baby’s motherland.

Rodney Payne: What did you learn from your time there?

Julian Hockin-Grant: Bhutan is really special, because  they’re like Wakanda If you’ve seen Black Panther. It’s just like this tiny little, obscure nation state that managed to avoid colonialism. They had a treaty with the British Raja so they could travel through to get up to Tibet.

But similar to Tofino, the colonial European powers didn’t appreciate the value of that place.

When the Indian agents came here, they assured Tla-o-qui-aht leaders that they had nothing to worry about with the small little Indian reserves being established, 

because nobody would ever want to come here. The soil’s poor and the land’s too rough and nobody would ever want to farm here. Nobody would ever want to come here.

Bhutan’s similar. It’s really, really, really rugged. The whole country is just the south-facing slope of the Himalayas. So in the south it’s sea level, Bay of Bengal, and in the north it’s the peak of the eastern Himalayas. 

Rodney Payne: What values did you see in Bhutan that led to not destroying nature?

Julian Hockin-Grant: Well one thing I became very convinced of in my ethno-ecology-focused undergraduate studies and in my anthropology environment and development master’s program was that Indigenous communities and old, established local communities, they care more about what happens to the lands and waters where they live. They have a much deeper connection.

And because of those intrinsic values, not the extrinsic, like, economic or, external values, like, values the connection, the identity identity with the place, motivate better governance and stewardship. And I believe that we are not going to find a way out of this climate crisis without the leadership of Indigenous people.

Rodney Payne: How prevalent do you think Indigenous values are in Tofino?

Julian Hockin-Grant: If you’re talking about like Tofino as the like, municipality, I think that they’re lacking. The nexuses of power and decision-making and authority don’t know or haven’t incorporated those values, or haven’t been able to access or listen to those teachings and that wisdom. 

If you’re talking about the population of Clayoquot Sound, it’s like 50 percent Indigenous, and there are a lot of knowledge holders, a lot of language keepers. There’s a lot of wisdom here. And there are a lot of people who came here and connected to that in the seventies and eighties and nineties and 80s and 90s during the Clayoquot protests. And I think that generation that participated in, like, the sort of, like, transition, that generation knows. They’ve got those values.

 They have bonded over this political movement that defines this community and that resulted in Tofino becoming the destination that it is. But everybody after that time, I feel like the toughest nut to crack. here for the Tribal Park Allies program are that started in the 90s. They’ve been around long enough that they’re quite local, and they’re really established and integrated in the community, but they didn’t live through that like, confrontational political moment that, necessitated this sort of like intercultural sharing. It was a powerful powerful moment in time, powerful moment in the history of this place. 

Rodney Payne: Why did you start your company? 

Julian Hockin-Grant:  I started my company because I believe that, what’s happening here with Tla-o-qui-aht can be adapted and tweaked and replicated anywhere, you know, all across North America. 

 In my master’s program for my thesis, I came to learn about the Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks. I had heard about them in my undergrad and doing these ethno-ecology classes, but it wasn’t clear to me, even then, studying in school, like, What is a tribal park? Where is it coming from? What’s the vision for the future? And where are we at today? So that’s what I looked at in my thesis. 

And around the same time, my brother was working for this company called EDGE. It’s a gender equity corporate certification standard that helps corporations kind of like develop metrics and performance indicators and measure how gender equitable they are. The of idea a certification standard really clicked, because Saya Masso, he’d been banging his fists against closed doors with the District of Tofino, with the province, and with Tourism Tofino, and with all these institutions, all these people who held the cards and how decisions and you know, the future of the region would play out. Uh, there was no political will amongst those groups. 

They’ve been trying to figure out how to secure a benefit from tourism, which disproportionately impacts Indigenous people in ways that the rest of us can’t really understand. 

When I kind of pitched the program to Saya that instead of trying to legislate a fee and ask permission from the government, do what’s consistent with their governance style, which is to assert their unceded rights and title to continue revitalizing and restoring their Indigenous systems of governance. Rather than get permission from the province to legislate a fee, just establish one on our own.

So we developed this voluntary certification program. It’s worked here, and I think it can work anywhere. So instead of accepting employment with Tla-o-qui-aht, I I created my own company. And I’m just kind of now getting to the point where I’m starting up our second program with the Huu-ay-aht First Nation in Bamfield, just south of here. And letting other nations across Vancouver Island and the province know that this is something that they could do too.

Rodney Payne: Can you tell us a little bit about the program? Like, what does the certification involve? 

Julian Hockin-Grant: What I like to call it is, it’s kind of the tagline of my company, is “foundations for right relationship.” A lot of people throw around the term truth and reconciliation here in Canada, especially reconciliation, but we got to back it up. Like, I don’t really believe that we’re at the reconciliation part yet.

If people want to, like, engage with this process of reconciliation or of Land Back or of Indigenous nation-building and resurgence of Indigenous governance systems, you gotta accept the truth. You have to know about the history of what happened here. You have to engage with where we are at in the pretty brief history of Canada. 

So, what we ask businesses to do, we’ve developed this protocol agreement. It’s a real service to operators and to businesses, but it’s also helping to articulate something on behalf of the Nation, like what it means to conduct business responsibly here.

Every Nation has its own cultural protocols, their own history. They’ve experienced their own forms of violence and impacts, and so learning how to not continue perpetuating these cycles of oppression that are putting Indigenous people down and that are preventing communities from achieving equity, which is bad for everybody. We need to kind of, like, establish what those foundations for right relationship are. 

So, here in Tla-o-qui-aht, operators are invited to sign a protocol agreement, which, we call them certification criteria, but it’s more like a commitment to walking a path together with a First Nation. So both sides are making a commitment to each other, and what we’re asking operators to do is collect and remit a one percent ecosystem service fee, we call it, to the First Nation. So if you get a hotel room for $200, you give $2 to the First Nation. So businesses are committing to collecting and remitting those fees.

And usually, people hear about the fee and that’s kind of where the conversation goes. But it’s more than that. It’s about securing from the industry, which is an Indigenous right, and which, oddly enough, which is uniquely lacking in the tourism industry. It’s been established precedent for a long time with primary industries like aquaculture and fishing and forestry and mining to provide a benefit to the First Nation whose lands and waters you’re exploiting and impacting. But it’s not, that’s not an industry standard with tourism. 

So securing that benefit, but also enabling Nations to have a stronger influence in how that industry develops and in how their community develops. So we ask businesses to acknowledge Rights and Title of the Nation whose lands and waters they’re doing their business in, report territorial concerns to the Guardian Stewardship Program, and get their destination marketing in line with the narrative that the First Nation wants to put out there in the world. 

For the longest time, tourism in Tofino has relied on this “wilderness” trope, portraying this place as the wild West Coast to come and explore your colonial fantasies. But what’s much more compelling, and I think what is a better lens for inviting people here to come and develop and grow personally is to consider the really unique and powerful values and teachings and history that has resulted in this place being the only intact old-growth rainforest left. 

And it’s not because nobody’s come and logged it yet, but because this community cares about it and they’re drawing on these ancient values and teachings to forego short-term economic opportunities and stand up for the ecology of this place, to which the people here belong. Nuu-chah-nulth, Tla-o-qui-aht are part of the ecology here. The ecology here is a reflection of those values. 

Rodney Payne: How many businesses have signed up for the program and how many more do you need to get?

Julian Hockin-Grant: We’ve seen a really cool kind of like hockey stick trajectory over the last few years. But we are kind of at a plateau. There are 130 businesses participating in the program today, which is pretty awesome. Tofino’s got like 700 business licenses out.

But I don’t know exactly, I would say like 30 percent of those are not tourism-related businesses. They’re welcome to participate in this program, but they’re not who we’re, like, going after. We’re targeting tourism businesses. But what we really need to see is, the larger resorts need to step up and get involved in this program. We’ve got a lot of them. Pacific Sands, Tofino Resort and Marina, Tin Wis, Hotel Zed, Meares Vista Inn. You know, like, there are quite a lot of the hotels participating. But there are a lot of them who aren’t still. 

These people have benefited from the stewardship initiatives. They are using water that’s piped over from Meares Island that would have been logged and wouldn’t have been clean and available for sustaining this volume of tourism if the First Nation hadn’t gone to the Supreme Court and won an injunction against clear-cut logging on that island. 

Right now, the poorest people in the region, the Indigenous people, are subsidizing the conditions that enable tourism to thrive here. But they’re not benefiting from it, and they’re disproportionately impacted from it. 

So, we’re at a really exciting time where Tourism Tofino has new leadership that’s really on board. They’re rebuilding their website, and they’re working with us to centre Tla-o-qui-aht and centre Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks in how the world sees Tofino and becomes attracted to Tofino, and the type of tourism that happens here. 

Hotels collect a 3 percent MRDT tax, which mostly is used for destination marketing here. And if Tourism Tofino is marketing this area as a Tribal Park, and if they’re foregrounding Tribal Park Ally businesses that are participating in this regenerative tourism industry, and if they’re backgrounding businesses who aren’t, then those businesses that are participating at the 3 percent fee but not our 1 percent fee, they’re not getting the benefit of the 3 percent, because they’re missing on the one.

I think that we’re at a really exciting time right now, where the DMO is on board with our program, and they’re really helping to change the calculus for businesses that are looking at this from more of an economic perspective, so that it just adds up and it makes sense for them to participate in our program. 

Rodney Payne: How much is the program raising each year, and what do you hope it gets to?

Julian Hockin-Grant: The last couple of years, we’ve raised around 300 or $350,000 a year, which is enormous, because before the program started, the Guardians program was relying on precarious grant funding. And in its best year, a trail fee that raised $12,000 in a year. So thanks to the Tribal Park Allies, the Guardians have their salaries guaranteed for next year. They have a fleet of trucks, they have a boat, they’ve replaced the dock at the Big Tree Trail, which is the big infrastructure asset that they contribute to the region, and they have a functioning external brand and image. So it’s been enormously consequential. 

But we know that tourism in Tofino is worth $240 million a year in direct revenue, and 1 percent of that is $2.4 million. So, we’re not, we’re at 10 percent of that, 15 percent of that. So we’ve got a long way to go. I’m thrilled to just envision what could be achieved with 1 percent of $240 million, but even today with $350,000, that attracts investment from grant funders, just to see that we’ve got that contribution already in place for a project. 

And one thing Tribal Park Allies or businesses considering participating in this program should bear in mind is that the 1 percent that they’re contributing, we’re bringing that in tenfold with investment from Pacifican and from CERIP, the Community Economic Resilience Infrastructure Program. We’re attracting investment from government and from international funders to Tofino, and everyone’s benefiting from that.

Rodney Payne: Can you talk a little more about the Tribal Parks program that you’re helping to fund? 

Julian Hockin-Grant: Yes, the Tribal Parks Program is a modern-day assertion of a very ancient and enduring responsibility of the Tla-o-qui-aht Ha’wiih, which is like the Hereditary Chiefs. The Ha’wiih have a responsibility to care for their [Tla-o-qui-aht word ]which is often translated simply as lands, but it means a lot more than that. It means songs, dances, regalia, houses, members. They have a responsibility to care for this place, for the well-being of all beings who contribute to that ecology and are a part of that ecology. And that means migratory species, like the birds that come through here and the salmon and the tourists. And it means, maybe beyond, life forms that we understand them in a narrow, Western, scientific perspective. The beings and the spirits and the entities that comprise the life force of this place.

So it’s really an enormous responsibility. And in this time of climate change and upheaval and this dynamic time that we’re living in, it’s kind of unclear what it means to fulfill that responsibility. And it’s been really challenging for Ha’wiih to live up to that responsibility.

But the Guardians program is a really exciting way, I think, to try to adapt an ancient, and living, Indigenous responsibility to this new economic system that exists here.

The Tribal Park Guardians’ primary responsibility is mitigating tourism impacts. We’re in the middle of a housing crisis here, and we’re in a resort municipality where there’s a lot of demand for seasonal jobs, washing dishes and cleaning rooms. And those people can’t afford to live here, because people who own houses make a lot more money Airbnb-ing those houses.

So a lot of these people end up camping in the hinterland. These are really important cultural sites for harvesting medicines and doing traditional practices. And those areas are being impacted pretty heavily by this kind of like, car camping, summer-long thing going on back there. And Guardians are really involved in trying to mitigate impacts from squatting in the back country. There’s a lot of fire hazard because you’re further off from the ocean.

So mitigating these tourism impacts is a really huge part of the responsibility of Guardians. But they’re also doing a lot of really progressive work, like restoring those rivers, cleaning up beaches, removing invasive species of dune grasses that are messing with coastal ecology here, and European green crab that came over in shipping boats. Like, they’re doing a whole bunch of really interesting ecological work. And also removing a lot of the legacy pollution and impacts from the canneries that used to be out here. Or old float homes that were abandoned and then hit by a storm and sunk in the eel grass. 

This place sequesters a hundred million tons of carbon. And a lot of the ecosystems that provide these really important functions are being impacted by wrecks from old boats and stuff that are leaking out petroleum products, all of this.

So they’re just, they’re doing all this like really profound cleanup work that the industries that are responsible for creating that mess have long since gone bankrupt or been sold or walked away and, and just left it for the Indigenous people who aren’t going anywhere.

Rodney Payne: Decolonization, can you describe what that is? 

Julian Hockin-Grant: Yeah, decolonization. It’s kind of a, not a real word, decolonization. But I guess the way I would describe decolonization is, maybe I would first try to define what colonialism is. Earlier in Canadian history, there was this colonial agenda of persecuting a genocide on the Indigenous peoples of these lands, which was unsuccessful, because people found a way to protect and pass on and keep their culture alive. 

And while governments and institutions and companies and people are trying to figure out ways to separate themselves from perpetuating these cultural standards that have been in place here for such a long time, it’s complicated. And I think a lot of us don’t understand how we have been colonized in our thinking and in our education and in our conditioning.

And the responsibility for decolonizing isn’t on any individual or group. But I think, getting back to the truth component of truth and reconciliation, we all have a responsibility of learning how and in what way we are perpetuating colonial culture. And how and in what ways are we reinforcing these cycles of oppression that are preventing our communities from thriving? 

And that’s a really broad conversation. It’s a really deep conversation. It penetrates into every aspect of how we live our lives, and how we think, and the relationships that we have with each other. And how we choose to develop a tourism industry is not an exception from that really personal introspective journey.

I think that Tribal Park Allies provides a really important tool for learning how to perceive our own role in perpetuating colonial culture and learning how to put those things down and, and consider how to do business differently.

Rodney Payne: How do you think the travel experience, you know, you went to Bhutan and learned a lot. People come here and learn a lot. How can travel be a positive force to help accelerate some of the changes we’re talking about?

Julian Hockin-Grant: I think it’s the responsibility of tourism operators and of tourism marketing organizations and of First Nations, to make sure that people who come here get the correct lens, you know, that we provide the context through which they come to this place and experience this place and places like this.

So we’re working really closely with Tourism Tofino, and drawing teachings and wisdom from the cultural knowledge keepers we work with and the Elders we work with to make sure this place is being represented appropriately. Challenging the old narrative that this place is a wilderness where people are invited to come and reenact their colonial fantasies, and instead, painting a picture for people where they can understand that they have a responsibility when they come here and that they’re contributing to an evolving, emergent process. 

I think that coming to a place like this, that is intact and that is sequestering all this carbon and that is in so many ways part of this really profound healing journey during this time of change and uncertainty and upheaval globally, it’s really powerful for people. And I think there’s an opportunity for people to come here and have a fire lit within their heart to restore this sense of responsibility for the places that we all call home. Wherever that is, whether it’s another Indigenous people’s land that you’ve settled in or whether you’re an Indigenous person coming here to travel. Like, reigniting that sense of responsibility for where you live and for the future generations of people who are going to inherit what you leave behind. I think that’s, like, what people can get by coming here if we can learn to tell that story properly and provide that sort of context and that lens.

Rodney Payne: What tips do you have for other leaders and travel destinations who are just beginning their journey of allyship? 

Julian Hockin-Grant: None of us are smart enough to think our way out of this climate crisis that we’re in. And we all need to cultivate that humility I was talking about earlier. Cultivate the humility to listen to traditional people who may not articulate their values in a way that makes a quick soundbite, or that is immediately intellectually understandable. It’s imperative to work with the First Peoples, the Indigenous Peoples, the established locals of a community. Developing a regenerative tourism industry can’t be asserted. It has to be a co-created, participatory community process.

And even though, like, there’s a lot of urgency in this climate crisis that we’re living in, budgets and timelines and fiscal year calendars and agendas are secondary to relationship building. We all have a responsibility to I guess, like, learn how to slow down and listen to each other.

Rodney Payne: What gives you hope?

Julian Hockin-Grant: The thing that gives me the most hope after five years of really pushing to see this Tribal Park Allies program succeed, is seeing the institutions that form the power nexus of this community taking on the responsibility of growing the program. To see the District of Tofino agree to educate new business license applicants about Tribal Park Allies and to see the province asking operators to consult with the First Nation and consider being a Tribal Park Ally before issuing tenure licenses. To see Tourism Tofino go from saying, no, we don’t support this program, to integrating it into like the very foundation of their brand. And to see other not-for-profits and other organizations in the community that were really not participating in the beginning take on the responsibility for educating people and growing this business has been really encouraging because for the longest time, I felt like I was just pushing a rock up a hill. And worrying that if I move on to do something else, Tribal Park Allies will go away.

I’m not worried about that anymore, because I see this program getting woven into the fabric of the community. I don’t think it’s going to go away. I think it’s part of what Tofino is now. And that’s really, like, profoundly reassuring and rewarding. I feel like I’ve actually achieved something for the first time. Heh heh.

Rodney Payne: What do you hope Tofino looks like in 10 years? 

Julian Hockin-Grant: Visually, I’d like to see a lot more interpretive signage and language. There are some places up on the North Island, where the stop signs are in the Indigenous languages, stuff like that. And it’s happening here, like, the Tofino Co-op, a new Tribal Park Ally, one of our big, big wins of the year.

A lot of their signage right in the grocery store now is like, in Nuu-chah-nulth, in Tla-o-qui-aht language, which is so cool to see.

One of our big goals from the start with this project has been for people to know before they get here that they’re coming to a Tribal Park. And right now I still think that most people don’t know that when they come, but they’re way more likely to learn that while they’re here.

And I have a lot of hope for the next couple of years. I really think that Tourism Tofino is gonna change things in a big way with their new website and with this ʔiisaak Pledge that I developed with Gisele and Saya and Terry. See that kind of like as part of a fully-funded campaign and part of Tourism Tofino’s brochure and on the BC Ferries in their little info pamphlet zone, like, there are so many opportunities for people to learn about this before they get here now. And I think it’s just gonna transform their experience.

People talk about regenerative tourism. They talk about equity in tourism. I don’t think we’re there yet, but I see a lot of really encouraging signs that tourism is going to be equitable and the Nation’s gonna really be able to fully participate. 

And also, like, assert limits to tourism in certain ways, like no-go zones and places that aren’t allowed to be used in marketing the area. A little bit more respect, like closures during sensitive migratory periods, or the herring run, or phasing out some of the unsustainable primary industries that people rely on economically today, like aquaculture, that are really harmful and not aligned with the land vision and stewardship vision of the Nation and the people here. 

Rodney Payne: That’s a terrific note to end on. Thanks for sitting down with us today.

Julian Hockin-Grant: Yeah, thank you.


Tyler Robinson: This has been Travel Beyond, presented by Destination Think. And that was Rodney Payne speaking with Julian Hockin-Grant, owner of Allied Certifications in Načiks, or Tofino, British Columbia. For more information about this episode, visit the blog at DestinationThink.com. 

I’m Tyler Robinson, and my co-host is David Archer, who composed the theme music and produced this episode. Our co-producer is Sara Raymond de Booy. Lindsay Payne, Annika Rautiola, and Katie Shriner provided production support. If you like what you hear, please take a moment and give us a 5-star rating on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. It really helps. 

We would like to thank Tourism Tofino for sponsoring this season of Travel Beyond. And we want to thank the many local community members, including leaders from the Tla-o-qui-aht and the Ahousaht First Nations, for entrusting us with their stories. 

Next time, we’ll take a look at more on-the-ground restoration action happening in Tofino. See you then!



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