If you're looking for a unique and enlightening experience while in Newfoundland and Labrador, you should definitely check out some of the province's Indigenous experiences. These businesses and organizations offer an immersive look into indigenous culture and practices, giving you a chance to really connect with the land and learn about First Nations' history and traditions. There are a number of different Indigenous-owned businesses and experiences available throughout the province and this post is meant to help you determine which ones you may want to experience. Many of these experience are located on the West Coast of the Wild Island of Newfoundland.
Upper Humber Settlement
The Upper Humber Settlement is run by Lauralee Ledrew, a local Mi'kmaq woman who’s building a bed & breakfast and permaculture farm located in Cormack, Newfoundland. This quiet accommodation provides not only a great Bed & Breakfast to stay in but also indigenous experiences right on the farm.
If you are looking for an experience to reconnect with the land and nature than you should definitely try out their Medicine Wheel and Fire Circle Experience and enjoy a fir roasted culinary treat of her mother's traditional bannock after a guided meditative fireside experience.
If you are looking for something covering how Indigenous people used to live off the land in Newfoundland, what plants they used to eat and/or used for medicinal purposes, try out their Farm & Forage Experience.
Rugged Edge is indigenous-run and based out of Corner Brook Newfoundland. They are a recreational motorsport business that provides rentals and tours year-round. With either guided ATV, side-by-side or snowmobile tours depending on the time of year. There is a reason why their team is one of the most recommended in the province. Visit their website to learn more about planning your rugged Newfoundland Adventure.
Everoutdoors is an indigenous adventure-based business located in Benoits Cove, Newfoundland. They provide guided hikes of the Blow Me Downs, kayaking and zodiac tours on the Bay of Islands. They also have a restaurant where they serve delicious food and provide an authentic boil-up experience where you will listen to Newfoundland music while eating local seafood.
4 Seasons Tours
Darren Park, at 4 Season Tours provides authentic Newfoundland tours year-round. 4 Season Tours is based out of Coxes Cove about 40 minutes from Corner Brook. Darren is known for his dory tours in the summer, where he takes people Cod fishing and Bald Eagle sighting out on the Bay of Islands. He also offers snowmobiling tours in the winter taking people around the beautiful North Arm Hills. Enjoy a taste of the Sea with Darren.
Under The Stump
Under the Stump provides Experiential, Storytelling, and Culture Tours based in Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland. Their main offerings are tours that teach people about local traditions, Indigenous culture, and heritage through storytelling, guided ATV tours and walking tours. Check them out to learn more about their offerings.
Birding By Season
Not only is the Southwestern Coast of Newfoundland boasting with spectacular coastlines, beautiful boreal forests and protected wetlands, but it is a special place that is home to a diversity of culture and birdlife! Join Indigenous guide Janice, with Birding By Season, as you explore and search the skies, the seas and the coastlines for nesting seabirds, northern songbirds, arctic migrants and other rare birds.
Gros Morne Adventures
Gros Morne Adventures offers an Indigenous experience that provides an immersive look into the culture and traditions of the Indigenous peoples of Newfoundland. Discover Mekapisk provides an opportunity to get a feel for how the First Peoples lived, you will examine the land from their perspective. You'll also think about the sea with their needs in mind, and handle the raw materials of their tools.
Wild Island Kitchen
Wild Island Kitchen is an experiential cultural culinary provider operating in the North East Coast of Newfoundland. Crystal is an inspiring soul who connects to her roots through land and food. She is inspired by uninhabited islands, eating fresh seafood cooked over the fire. She cooks for adventure. If traveling to the areas of Twillingate be sure to arrange your authentic experience, where people; local food and culture come first.
Appalachian chalets provide great cabin accommodations in Corner Brook, Newfoundland as well as a couples adventure getaway package. In this package, you and your partner will get 1 night in the chalet, a zip-lining tour and a $60 voucher to the Wayward Spruce, a restaurant located on-site (availability and seasonal rates may apply)
Mountain Waters Resort
If you're looking for a place to stay that will allow you to explore the beauty and culture of Newfoundland's northern peninsula, Mountain Waters Resort is a perfect option. Located in Portland Creek, this accommodation gives you access to Salmon fishing, Canoeing, and aerial viewing tours of the Long Range Mountains.
Attend a Powwow
This is a great way to immerse yourself in indigenous culture and experience firsthand a tradition that has been going on for many years. There are a few powwows that take place annually in Newfoundland.
Flat Bay Pow Wow
The annual Powwow is a celebration of the Mi'kmaq culture. This is the ideal location to learn and experience new things! The Bay St. George Mi'kmaq Cultural Revival Committee hosts and plans the Annual Flat Bay Powwow to revitalize, develop, support, and preserve an awareness of Mi'kmaq Culture.
You can check out their website here.
Miawpukek First Nation Powwow
The Miawpukek First Nation – Conne River is the only recognized Reserve on the island of Newfoundland and it is located on the South Coast. This event allows visitors, friends, and guests to participate in activities and events such as dancing and singing, religious ceremonies, feasts, traditional food sampling, sharing of culture and customs, making new friends, and reconnecting with old ones.
You can check out their website here.
As Experience Qalipu puts it "We are Mi’kmaq people of Newfoundland. A people connected to this land, with roots that run deep and reach far. Connect to the oldest living culture in Newfoundland through nature, art, dance, myths, music, and outdoor adventure. Experience the tradition, culture, and the wild, rugged beauty of our land and leave transformed."| Visit the Qalipu First Nation's Visitor Website to learn more about all the of these Indigenous offerings and businesses and many more. It is a great starting point to plan your experience to this rugged island.
You can also checkout NLITA, Newfoundland and Labrador Indigenous Tourism Association website to search beyond the regional Mi’kmaq experiences and to learn more about the broad Indigenous history and experiences of all Newfoundland and Labrador including the Northern Labrador Inuit of Nunatsiavut (Noo-nut-see-ah-voot), Innu (In-noo), and Southern Inuit of NunatuKuvut (Noo-na-too-ha-vut). As well as the First Nation culture on the island of Newfoundland through the Miawpukek (Mi-auw-pukek) Mi’kmaw People and the Qalipu (Ha-li-boo) Mi’kmaw People.
Indigenous tourism experiences are a great way to learn about the culture and traditions as well as support indigenous-run businesses. Indigenous communities are just beginning to flourish with the impact of tourism and we are excited to be partnering and supporting others on this journey. We hope this post helped you uncover businesses and experiences you maywant to attend here on the island.
Our Suggested Itinerary to take in the most while visiting the West Coast.
Day 1 - Start with Under The Stump in Gros Morne National Park. They offer a unique 2 hour excursion in the back country which is completely accessible to all visitors. Observing wildlife with the iconic scenery of Gros Morne is just a bonus to Trina's cultural storytelling guided experience in her backyard.
Day 2 - Visit us at the Upper Humber Settlement and participate in our Medicine Wheel Fire Circle Experience on the night of your arrival, than participate in our Farm & Forage Nature walk through our backyard after our Farm to Table Breakfast. I will share our stories and knowledge about the land which I've learned from my mother. Around the fire we will sample some of my mother's traditional bannock, a staple of my childhood, a taste of my culture.
Day 3 - Head to Cox's Cove and take in Darren Park's Cod Fishing Experience, an authentic traditional fishing dory excursion. A real treat awaits you in his backyard! The food, the bald eagles and the amazing, unexpected scenery because it's the unscripted moments that we can't tell you about that will make your trip a once in a life time moment.
Day 4 - Visit our friend and beautiful soul Janice from the Birding by Season. She will take you through the stunning wilds of the South Coast and point out the birds by sound, by season, and by sight. A wealth of knowledge when it comes to birds and plants and land. Another Indigenous operator sharing the amazing experiences our rugged island has to offer, from her backyard.
Or work your way from the South Coast to the iconic Gros Morne National Park.
Although there are countless offerings in Newfoundland, and numerous Indigenous operators providing authentic experiences for locals and visitors alike, these are just a few of our favorites that you can visit as you travel through the Western Region.
Looking for more things to do in Newfoundland? Check out our post about things to do in Deer Lake and Surrounding areas.