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B.C.’s growing Indigenous Tourism Sector

Paddling up mountain-encircled inlets in long canoes, drums keeping time, voices rising and falling; feasting on homemade bannock and roasted bison at a First Nations-run restaurant; spending the night at a hotel featuring fair trade Indigenous art, and a rooftop sweat lodge. Indigenous tourism offers a chance to explore the city through a rich cultural and historical lens.

"We are definitely seeing...

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When This Tree Falls In a Forest, Everyone Watches

ernie phillip drumming scotch creek

Elders such as James August selected the cottonwood for the first tree-cutting ceremony on the First Nation’s land in more than a generation. The tree was chosen months earlier, when the elders decided they wanted to renew the community’s tradition of building handcrafted canoes. They searched different locations around their territory in the Shuswap region, an area of immaculate scenery about 85 kilometres northeast of Kamloops in the British Columbia...

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Our Women Have Always Carved

On the West Coast, in the rich and diverse world of First Nations art, the master carvers responsible for the totem poles and myriad other monumental works are usually men.

There are exceptions. And two exceptional women – trailblazing female First Nations artists who have carved their way into Canadian cultural history – are getting their due in two new exhibitions. Pioneering Kwakwaka’wakw carver Ellen Neel is being celebrated at a show in Victoria, 50 years after her death. And Musqueam artist Susan Point has a comprehensive, magnificent solo show opening at the Vancouver Art Gallery this weekend.

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Douglas Treaties translated into indigenous languages

For the first time since they were signed 170 years ago, the Douglas Treaties have been translated into the indigenous languages of the Sencoten and Lekwungen First Nations of Vancouver Island. 

But the effort to translate them has also highlighted how differently their meanings were understood by both sides who signed them.

Between 1850 and 1854, then-governor of Vancouver Island James Douglas signed more than a dozen treaties with First Nations from Victoria to Port Hardy, exchanging about 930 square kilometres of land for cash, clothing and blankets.

The historic treaties, sometimes called the Vancouver Island Treaties, ensured...

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Surviving Canada’s Coldest Season

Webb Bennett of the Gitselasu First Nations near Terrace in northern British Columbia has heard stories about what it was like for his people to survive a winter that locks in with six months of harsh weather, including -50C wind chills.

“Living in a lush part of the country, we didn’t have to travel like the Inuit, continuously chasing our food,” says the interpreter at the community’s heritage centre.

“But still, starting with the very first signs of spring, we lived our entire lives preparing for the next winter.”

Many of the Gitselasu’s winter provisions appeared on their...

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