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National Indigenous History Month: Week One

June 1st marks the beginning of Indigenous History Month.

As Indigenous peoples, we honour our selves, families, communities, lands, and cultures daily.

This June and every month, we honour the missing children, the families left behind, and survivors of the residential schools. We walk gently and encourage education and exploration about the rich and diverse cultures of #IndigenousBC.

We have dedicated this month to highlight stories, special events and virtual workshops from some of the 200+ unique Indigenous communities in British Columbia. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for a month-long calendar of educational content from all over #IndigenousBC to inspire and inform you of the many learning opportunities available.

Ainsworth Hot Springs

📍 Ainsworth, BC
@ainsworthhotsprings
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The hot springs were first visited by the Ktunaxa First Nations peoples who experienced the waters as a welcome respite after a long day of hunting, fishing, and gathering roots and berries in what is now known as the Kootenay region.
The Ktunaxa First Nations peoples embraced the nupika wu’u, or hot mineral waters, for their healing and rejuvenating powers and Ainsworth Hot Springs has been welcoming guests since the 1930s.
📷: DestinationBC | Kari Medig

Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre

Words from @slccwhistler
📸 Tourism Squamish
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During mythological times Siy’ám’ Smánit (The Stawamus Chief, in Squamish, BC) was a longhouse.⠀
A Tl’a7áshen-Feast was held inside with all of the animal people as guests. Xaays-Transformer Brothers immortalized this event by turning both the guests and the longhouse into stone.⠀
The longhouse is still visible today and the spirits of the guests remain trapped inside. The Squamish People are careful never to point at Siy’ám’ Smánit, pointing shows disrespect and brings the rain and storms.

I-Hos Gallery

📍K’ómoks (between Comox + Courtenay)
@ihosgallery
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The beautiful house front design of I-Hos Gallery incorporates a whale, “Queneesh” and the double-headed sea serpent, “I-Hos”. These creatures represent important crests of the K’ómoks people. Standing inside of the entrance pole is a sxwayxwey (kway kway) dancer. The dancer wears a mask with protruding eyes and tongue. The dancer carries a scallop shell rattle and wears a tunic of swan feathers.
📸 @indigenoustourismbc + @westcoastlife

Nk'Mip Cultural Centre

📍Osoyoos, BC
@nkmipdesertculturalcentre
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This area is locally coined locally as Canada’s “pocket desert.” Whichever way you look at it, Osoyoos is a unique area with a precious habitat that should be celebrated and protected. Okanagan First Nations once travelled widely to fishing, gathering and hunting areas. Each year, the first harvests of roots, berries, fish and game were celebrated by ceremonies honouring the food chiefs who provided for the people.

Planning a visit?
June is Mariposa Lily month; this beautiful purple lily was an important food plant for Okanagan people. During the hot summer months many plants are dormant and animals hide during the heat of the day. Mornings and evenings are the best time to see wildlife such as coyotes, deer, and snakes. September and October are good months to see fall colours in the trees and the yellow blooms of rabbitbrush, and purple tansy aster and snakes are slowly returning to their winter dens in the hillsides. Bears have fattened up and wandered to their winter dens to sleep and dream of spring.
📸 @Indigenoustourismbc + @brendinkelly

Spapium Farm

📍 Lytton, BC
@spapiumlittleprairiefarm
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Cedar is the tree of life, and it is used by Indigenous people for protection, ceremony, and in daily life. Making a small, simple item such as a bracelet reminds us of the limitless physical and spiritual gifts of the land.
Tlalaegalis (Paula Cranmer-Underhill) brings cedar medicine to her guests at Spapium ‘Little Prairie’ Farm, located near the junction of the Thompson and Fraser Rivers in ‘Nlaka’pamux Territory.
Tlalaegalis has been weaving cedar for more than 25 years. She learned from her Namgis family in Alert Bay, BC. Her roots are ‘Namgis, Kwakwaka‘wakw, and ‘Nlaka’pamux from Lytton First Nation, where she lives now at Spapium Farm, which sits on lands inherited from her Grandfather.
The farm is a healing destination and historic meeting place in ‘Nlaka’pamux Territory. Cedar has always supplied the Kwakwaka‘wakw with material for bighouses and totem poles, rope, and cooking boxes. Cedar bark is gathered in the spring and used to create clothing and regalia, and household items like blankets and baskets.
The giant trees were also used for dugout canoes as long as 60 feet, which permitted oolichan harvest and trade. The Kwakwaka‘wakw continue to protect powerful grandmother trees that stand in their Territory. All parts of the cedar tree are used to sustain life for the Kwakwaka‘wakw people.
Tlalaegalis shares the cedar medicine she has learned from her ‘Namgis family and other traditional knowledge keepers: “It helps people understand our connection to the land, and to the resources, and to one of our medicines.”
📸 @ecoescape.travel at @spapiumlittleprairiefarm

Two women weaving a Spapium Farm

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