July 11, 2018
Double A Ventures, a company that focuses on Indigenous cultural tourism, has a near-perfect customer rating on social media.
The fascinating juxtaposition of traditional knowledge and technology is one that keeps Ron D. Antoine, owner and operator of the company, both curious and creative.
“To succeed in Indigenous cultural tourism it takes a combination of business savvy and marketing as well as tradition that has been passed down over thousands of years. You have to find a balance in that,” Ron says. “I went to school and got a formal education but the Elders have also taken me out to learn in their school – their environment.”
It’s this balance that forms the foundation of Ron’s business.
He operates Double A Ventures out of Hay River, Northwest Territories, and specializes in driving tours to Enterprise, Jean Marie River, Kakisa, Fort Providence and Fort Smith. From hiking to waterfalls, introducing guests to artists and stopping for the catch of the day and other goods at Hay River’s Fisherman’s Wharf, guests have plenty to enjoy – including Ron’s extensive knowledge of the territory.
“I worked with Environment and Natural Resources for 30 years before retiring so I bring a lot of academic knowledge into the tours, including animal patterns and climate change impacts. But I’m also able to fuse this with traditional knowledge about history, hunting, fishing, the environment and medicinal plants,” Ron explains.
Representing Family and Culture Through Tourism
Visitors will be quick to notice that with Ron’s company, everything carries significant weight and meaning.
He named his company, Double A Ventures, after his late uncle Antoine, who was affectionately nicknamed Double A.
“He used to take me trapping and hunting and we spent a lot of time together on the land. Naming my company after him was an opportunity to respect who he was and share the knowledge that he’s given me,” Ron says.
The Double A Ventures logo features a drum, two eagle feathers and four ribbons. The drum represents the world as a whole while the feathers symbolize Ron and his twin brother Don. The red, black, yellow and white ribbons have several meanings. They represent the four elements of life – mental, emotional, physical and spiritual; and the four elements of the world, air, water, land and fire.
“I’ve travelled all over the world, including South Korea, Peru and throughout the United States,” Ron says. During that time I got to witness traditions of other cultures that I really respect. So for me, when people come to the Northwest Territories, I want them to see and experience what our culture is all about. For me, it’s a privilege to share that.”
Indigenous cultural tourism is celebrated year-round in the Northwest Territories. In recognition of National Indigenous Peoples Day, which was on June 21, we’re sharing a special blog series that profiles some of the NWT’s local tourism operators who share Indigenous culture as part of their tours.