Former lab tech at Nuxalk Fish and Wildlife, Shanti Tallio-Milton started Nunanaalhm Tours, focusing on Indigenous tourism in Bella Coola specifically bears and nature.
From Nuxalk Nation, Bella Coola BC, Shanti had the vision of putting her territory on the map, by launching this business with the purpose of inviting individuals from far and wide to experience Bella Coola. Shanti yearned for them to witness the awe-inspiring landscapes, soak in the tranquility of nature, and immerse themselves in the captivating stories of the Indigenous peoples who have shaped the land throughout generations.
This vision was not going to be met with praise right away, in fact, Shanti recalls people making fun of her idea.
“When I first expressed my desire to launch an Indigenous tourism business in Bella Coola, I encountered quizzical looks from those around me. It's true that during my high school years, I wasn't particularly renowned for my love of the great outdoors. However, as the pandemic unfolded, something within me shifted, and I found myself spending more and more time outside, exploring the vast expanse of our land and engaging in meaningful work.”
Amidst these experiences, a powerful realization dawned upon Shanti: more people should have the opportunity to witness the breathtaking beauty of the surroundings and delve into the rich history embedded within the very ground that is trodden upon today. And who better to offer this insight than a local indigenous individual who was born and raised in Bella Coola?
Shanti’s purpose was to start an Indigenous tourism business right where she was. In Bella Coola.
“I yearn for them to witness the awe-inspiring landscapes, soak in the tranquility of nature, and immerse themselves in the captivating stories of the indigenous peoples who have shaped this land throughout generations. I base everything on our culture from stories to our land and our history.”
Nunanaalhm Tours Logo tells a thousand stories about the culture and great heritage. When asked about her logo, Shanti proudly described the process.
“My older sister drew it for me, I told her my ideas and she brought it to life. The blue and Red represent our Nuxalk colours and the two bears represent me and my two cultures who both cherish the grizzly. Blue for Nuxalk and Red for Lil'wat.”
Shanti’s family plays a huge part in her business. With the unwavering support of her parents, grandparents, and aunties, Shanti is even more motivated in pursuing her goals. The collective presence of her loved ones uplifts them, enabling her to persevere and strive for success.
Shanti has a 10-year goal that she aspires to pursue.
With determination, she aims to utilize the entire territory, recognizing the unique advantage she holds as a Nuxalk band member. She sees the untapped potential in her community's land and believes she can harness it in ways no one else can. Fueled by her deep connection to her heritage and her desire to make a lasting impact, she is committed to realizing her ambitious plan and maximizing the resources available to her.
Shanti, her family and the bears invite all of you to experience Indigenous tourism in Bella Coola.
To learn more about Shanti's business please check out her Instagram page @nunanaalhm_tours where you can catch a glimpse into what kinds of things you might come in contact with on a tour! You might be lucky and take a selfie with a bear!