Step into the Great Hall and instantly feel amazed by towering spindles, longhouse posts and grand canoes as your heart beats in time to drumming and a traditional welcome song performed by the Coastal Mountain Squamish (Skwxu7mesh Úxumixw) and Lil’wat (L’il’wat7úl) people in Whistler, B.C. Explore the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre’s (SLCC) museum treasures: exquisitely crafted masks, tools, instruments and clothing, both ancient and contemporary. Hear elders’ myths and legends. Take a guided forest walk. Explore a Squamish longhouse and a Lil’wat pit house. Create your own cedar rope bracelet.
The stylish SLCC is the long-time dream of both the Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation, whose territory overlaps in the Whistler region. “They signed a historic protocol in 2001 to work together in peace and harmony, and the joint project opened in 2008,” says Mixalhitsa7 (Alison Pascal), the centre’s junior curator and a Lil’wat band member.
Browse the gift shop for authentic Aboriginal artwork. Savour the Thunderbird Cafe’s First Nations fusion cuisine, which includes salmon chowder, venison chili, and bannock. Throughout summer, celebrate weekly traditional dinner feasts with colourful cultural performances. Sign up for crafting workshops with a First Nations ambassador to make drums or weave baskets. Get to know the original inhabitants of what is now Vancouver and its surrounding territory. “The centre makes us happy to be able to celebrate and share being First Nations every day — our history, our culture and why we love this land,” says Mixalhitsa7.