March 20, 2018
Sometimes in life, we just need a new perspective. That’s exactly what you’ll get exploring BC’s scenery and wildlife from the water—not to mention some…
By Rachel Rilkoff June 13, 2016 #php comments_number('0 Comment', '1 Comment', '% Comments'); ?> #php echo wpb_get_post_views(get_the_ID()); ?>
Summer Solstice marks the longest day of the year, and here in Canada, June 21 also signals National Aboriginal Day — a spirited celebration of the vibrant cultures and traditions of the country’s Aboriginal people.
National Aboriginal Day is an opportunity to learn more about the different heritages, languages and traditions of Aboriginal people in Canada. Their spiritual beliefs and cultural practices draw from the distinct environments of British Columbia in which they live, and where their ancestors have lived for thousands of years.
This three-day event features three First Nations, whose traditional lands and territory sit on Vancouver Island. Each day represents a different nation: Coast Salish Nation on June 17, Nuu-chah-nulth Nation on June 18 and Kwakwaka’wakw Nation on June 19.
The Lil’wat Nation’s Alex Wells, a three-time hoop dancing World Champion, will take the stage June 17 as a representative of the Interior Salish people. Hoop Dancing is an athletic and intricate performance, telling the story of the creation of life through multiple whirling hoops and powerful movements, to the beat of a pounding drum. It is incredible to witness.
On June 18, check out The Git Hayetsk Dancers, a First Nations mask-dancing group. A walk through the Royal BC Musuem’s First Peoples Galleries reveals just how important masks are to Indigenous people — the dancers of Git Hayetsk sing not only traditional songs but create new ones, using dance, drumming, masks and regalia to tell the stories of the modern Aboriginal.
The festivities close on June 19 with the Nuu-chah-nulth Dance Group. Their traditional territory stretches 300 kilometres (186 miles) along the west coast of mid-Vancouver Island and includes inland regions. This beautiful and rugged land is the inspiration and influence for their songs and dancing and a chance to see First Nations youth sharing traditions passed down from their elders and ancestors.
In addition to the performances, try your hand at making a drum or join a tour of the Royal BC Musuem’s totem pole collection. There is an Artisan Village to browse, with carvings, jewelry, prints and more. It is also a chance to chat with artists and learn more about their creative traditions. The art showcased here is certified by the new Authentic Indigenous Artisans Program, which helps Indigenous artists protect and maintain control over their artwork.
There’s also traditional and inspired food onsite — try West Coast clam chowder, fry-bread and Indian tacos.
If you are visiting from outside of Victoria, take advantage of travel packages arranged by Aboriginal Tourism BC: two-night accommodation with flexible hotel options, admission to the Royal BC Museum and easy access to all of the events at the Aboriginal Cultural Festival. If you are coming from Seattle, there are packages that include return transfers between Victoria and Seattle on the Victoria Clipper.
If you find yourself captivated by the Aboriginal Cultural Festival and want to learn more, Aboriginal Tourism BC offers packages throughout BC.
Nations all over BC will be celebrating National Aboriginal Day. Here are some other events happening around the province:
Turtle Island Festival at the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Center
Tobacco Plains Annual Aboriginal Day Celebration
National Aboriginal Day at Trout Lake
Festivals and events in Victoria, British Columbia
Did you know that British Columbia, Canada, has the longest lift-serviced vertical in North America? Or that you can go cat-skiing for $10? Or that…
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