[Whistler, BC Canada] — Canada, like the U.S., has a rich history of indigenous peoples. Among the three primary groups — First Nations, Inuit, and Métis — Canada’s Aboriginal population today numbers over one million, according to the 2006 Canadian census.

And just as in the U.S., these groups have historically faced discrimination and other challenges, including joblessness, poverty, and health issues.

Many native groups are working today to improve their futures as well as preserve their past. In Whistler, British Columbia, two First Nations tribes — the Squamish and the Lil’wat Nations — worked together with Whistler’s government to create a world-class cultural center.

Opened in time for Whistler’s 2010 Winter Olympics, the 30,000-square foot, 3-story center features a Great Hall, theater, arts and cultural exhibits, as well as a Squamish Longhouse, Lil’wat Pit House, and a forest walk outside the museum.

From the center’s website: “To the Squamish and Lil’wat people, the forest is a place that provides much of our sustenance – clothing, food, medicines, and raw materials for housing and daily implements. For us, the forest is like a church – it is where we can stay connected to the natural world – a place of balance, harmony, and spirituality. We must respect and protect it.”

I toured the museum last year while riding British Columbia’s Sea to Sky Highway by motorcycle for Harley-Davidson’s HOG magazine.  While spectacular scenery, snow, sports, and skiing are a big part of Whistler’s attraction, a visit to the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre should definitely be another.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre

4584 Blackcomb Way

Whistler, BC Canada VON 1B4

(866) 441-7522

http://www.slcc.ca/

Tourism Whistler: http://www.whistler.com/

British Columbia tourism: http://www.hellobc.com/

About Glen Abbott
Glen Abbott is a New Orleans-based travel writer & photographer. He specializes in writing about motorcycle touring and travel, and his work appears regularly in Harley-Davidson's HOG magazine, American Iron, and other publications.

View all posts by Glen Abbott »

2 Comments
  1. Jeremy Branham

    June 13, 2012

    I’ve never been to Whistler but I’ve heard it’s beautiful. Being so close to Vancouver, I wish I had to chance to visit last year. Interesting museum on the indigenous people.
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..Welcome to Budget Travel Guides – free destination guides and travel tips

    • Travelin' Gringo

      June 13, 2012

      Hi Jeremy, this was my first trip to Whistler, and it was right after last year’s TBEX meeting. The whole area is beautiful.

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