EXPERIENCE AUTHENTIC FIRST NATIONS CULTURE
The Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations who claim Whistler as part of their shared traditional territory offer visitors the opportunity to learn about their traditional beliefs, practices and culture at the world-renowned Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, a short walk from Whistler Village.
Each guest at the centre — built to represent the traditional Coast Salish (Squamish) longhouse and Interior Salish (Lil’wat) pithouse — takes part in a guided tour that includes a welcome song, a short film and narrative that explains the significance of the carvings, art, songs and ceremonies that have been passed down through the generations. Tours are guided by Cultural Ambassadors, each one passionate about sharing both his or her people’s traditional beliefs and how those beliefs play out in real-life situations. “It’s living culture, so we have amazing exhibits about traditions and culture, and each tour guide is able to relate what you’re seeing to their own family experience within either the Lil’wat or Squamish community,” said Deanna Wampler, SLCC marketing manager.
The centre offers interactive workshops in which guests learn how to make a variety of items including traditional Salish hand drums, buckskin medicine bags and woven cedar bracelets as a souvenir of their visit. To enhance the experience, there is a 30-minute interpretive forest walk that offers glimpses into how Squamish and Lil’wat peoples used native plants for food, as medicine and in cultural ceremonies.
New this year are regular outdoor barbecues featuring salmon and other traditional First Nations fare. slcc.ca