When Métis Crossing secured a federal contribution to help fulfill its ambitious original vision, it was a full-circle decision to bring Juanita Marois — who is Métis and grew up just outside of Enoch — back into the fold. “They came to me and said, ‘You’re the person who holds the dream most vividly in their head.’ So I came back in 2017 and haven’t slowed down since.”
After leading the initial development of Métis Crossing in 2006, Marois’s journey took her away from Alberta’s first (and only) Métis cultural interpretive destination, which sits on 688 acres of Indigenous-owned land near Smoky Lake. In that time, she had a family, worked for Athabasca University with the Alberta Community and Cooperatives Association, and consulted on numerous community economic developments in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Marois, who assumed the title of CEO in 2021, has since overseen the development of several new projects at Métis Crossing: a state-of-the-art cultural gathering centre designed by Métis architect Tiffany Shaw-Collinge and built by Métis-owned and operated companies. There’s the Lodge, a 40-room boutique luxury hotel that overlooks the North Saskatchewan River, and the recently opened Sky Watching Domes, which were designed for year-round stargazing.
The world has taken notice—this past October, Travel + Leisure featured Métis Crossing on the cover of its magazine and honoured it as one of the “50 best places to travel in 2024,” exposing it to millions of readers.
“Now people are coming from around the world to experience the beauty of our culture,” says Marois.
“We want to elevate our people so that all of us can be proud of who we are.”