This Wednesday, June 21 is National Aboriginal Day! A chance to celebrate the local history, culture, and traditions of Canada’s First People. Here in Whistler we encourage all locals and visitors to see Whistler’s award winning First Nations Cultural Centre.
The Squamish and Lil’wat Nations built the Cultural Centre to house and showcase their art, history, and culture. Their vision is to share their cultural knowledge to inspire understanding and respect amongst all people. Founded on partnerships and built with celebration, the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre is the place to experience your cultural journey this National Aboriginal Day.
Join in the celebration and get in touch with First Nations’ culture this Wednesday! Here’s what’s going on throughout the day:
Admission by Donation
Bonus! The SLCC is waiving their $18 admission fee for National Aboriginal Day. Make a donation at the door and the venue is yours to explore!
Yoga with Lululemon
Did you know National Aboriginal Day coincides with International Yoga Day? In a meeting of mind, body, spirit, and culture, enjoy yoga with Lululemon on the outdoor patio from 9:15am-10:30am.
First Nations Blessing and Sage Smudging
Witness a First Nations Blessing and Sage Smudging in the Great Hall with Barry Dan and Clara John from the Lil’wat Nation from 10:30am-11am. The First Peoples of North America use smudging to purify a persons body and spirit as well as a home or area. Smudging is a ceremony in which you burn certain herbs, take the smoke in your hand and rub it over the body. Sage is burned to drive out ill feeling or influences, protecting the place of ceremony. Learn more about smudging ceremonies.
Ever tried bannock? How about venison chili? Or a bison pot pie? The Thunderbird Cafe has a mouthwatering menu featuring everything from Cedar Plank Sockeye Salmon Chowder to a Bannock Taco (a local fav). Enjoy their boutique menu selection with a deliciously unique style of modern First Nations cuisine. For National Aboriginal Day the Thunderbird Cafe has BBQ specials on from 11am-3pm for you to get a taste of First Nations culture.
Hourly Cultural Presentations
If you’ve been on one of the SLCC’s tours you know you’re in for a real treat. See hourly cultural presentations including performance and storytelling in the Great Hall from 10am-4pm. From traditional outfits to drums and music, these cultural presentations highlight the deep traditions of the Sk̲wx̲wú7mesh Úxumixw and L̓il̓wat7úl people.
Local Artisans on Site
The Gift Shop at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre is one of the best spots in town to pick up unique and meaningful gifts. This Wednesday discover local artists and artisans on site providing demonstrations and selling their wares from 10am-3pm. Plus all First Nations Guests get 20% off the Gallery and Gift Shop!
Aboriginal Crafts and Interpretive Forest Walk
Get hands on with Aboriginal craft activities in the Istken Hall from 10am-4pm and then join a Cultural Ambassador on an Interpretive Forest Walk and discover the traditional uses for local flora and fauna (guided forest walks run from 11:30am-1:30pm)
Our First Nations people have lived on this land forever with their history and culture are deeply connected to it. Come and hear their stories, and see the mountains, rivers, and forests through their eyes. Learn more about the history of the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations.
The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre is located at the corner of Blackcomb Way and Lorimer Road across from the Fairmont Chateau Whistler and is open daily from 9:30am-5pm. Pay them a visit and go explore! For more information you can visit their website at slcc.ca
by Jillian van der Geest