This blog post was written before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when physical distancing and other COVID health and safety protocols were not in effect. The businesses and communities featured in this article may be once again welcoming visitors but please double check as some are only open with limited operations and others have not yet reopened.
Hear songs and stories around the fire; create unique art and learn the skills of the Porcupine People; dip your paddle into the river and share in traditions as old as the water and the sky. Dig a little deeper and explore the diverse world of Indigenous Cultures within Canada. From coast to coast to coast Canada offers extraordinary cultural treasures, here’s your guide to experiencing some of the best.
Where: Teslin, Yukon (southeast)
Don’t miss: Our Cultural Demonstrations
Shake hands with a master carver and watch them create an incredible sculpture from a block of wood; talk to talented cedar bark and Chilkoot weavers; watch a demonstration on moccasin making, saddlery or the traditional art of making a bentwood box; explore our culinary culture and learn about salmon smoking and traditional food preservation. Taste our freshly made bannock; dip your feet into pristine Teslin Lake; relax, unwind and enjoy the spectacular outdoor setting and take home a precious souvenir from our well-stocked gift store.
Where: Skidegate, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
Don’t miss: The Monumental Pole tour, daily from June through August
Through the Haida Heritage Centre, we celebrate the living culture of the Haida people. Through our language, art and stories we share our relationship with the land and sea which shapes, nourishes, and sustains us. Haida monumental poles are one of the most recognizable and clearly identifiable icons of First Nations cultures worldwide. Join us as we visit some of the many poles at Kay Llnagaay and begin to deconstruct the different types of poles, their functions and some of the crests and stories that have been displayed from time immemorial, connecting time and place.
Where: Smoky Lake, Alberta (northeast)
Don’t miss: Paddle into the Past
Join us on a four-hour immersive Indigenous experience linking two historic sites with a voyageur canoe trip along the North Saskatchewan River—a traditional fur-trade route. One of Canada’s three Indigenous Peoples, the Métis are a proud nation. Taught by generations of grandparents, our way of life, crafts, survival, and strong entrepreneurship, are shared in this experience. Try your hand at finger weaving. Dip your paddle into the river. Scan the riverbanks for the Canadian beaver. Sip a cup of tea. This trip is a perfect blend of culture, the great outdoors and Métis history.
Where: Wendake, Quebec
Don’t miss: History of the Hurons-Wendat from past to present
Kwe! Follow our journey and learn about the living culture and storied past of the Huron- Wendat People. Take a guided tour with a cultural ambassador; paddle a canoe and hear tales and legends; watch a traditional dance show or get crafty in a handicraft workshop. Taste our delicious indigenous cuisine at the NEK8ARRE restaurant, which can accommodate 180 guests, and feast on wild game and fish. At Le Huron onsite gifts shop, browse unique arts and crafts from Indigenous artisans from across North America. Only a 20-min drive north of downtown Quebec City. Open year-round.
Where: Whistler, British Columbia
Don’t miss: Our ‘What We Treasure’ guided tour
Experience the SLCC’s signature tour delivered hourly by knowledgeable Cultural Ambassadors from the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations, who share their own stories and cultural teachings. This tour includes a welcome song, fifteen-minute film, exhibit tour, and optional craft activity. For guests wishing to visit the centre but do not have time for a tour, the SLCC’s admission-free area includes Whistler’s largest First Nations Gift Shop as well as Whistler’s only Indigenous-inspired café, Thunderbird Café. Visit these two spaces to explore merchandise and cuisine authentic and unique to the Squamish, Lil’wat, and other Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Where: Wendake, Quebec
Don’t miss: Myths and Legends
In the Ekionkiestha’ national longhouse of the Huron-Wendat, join us by the fire to listen to our myths and legends over a soothing cup of Labrador tea. Hear our songs, delve into our stories (at 6 p.m. in English – at 9 p.m. in French).
Where: Westbank, British Columbia
Don’t miss: Guided tours for groups
We provide guided tours for up to 30 people. During the tour, you will learn about pre-contact, recent history and the important milestones for Westbank First Nation. We showcase a living museum space and educate our visitors with a perspective that creates cultural awareness of the Syilx Nation in an open space that welcomes all questions!
Where: Siksika Nation, Alberta
Don’t miss: History and traditions of the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation
Adventure into the past at Blackfoot Crossing, the site of the signing of the Treaty No. 7, and of national and international historical and archaeological significance. In 2007, Blackfoot Crossing was opened to allow visitors to immerse in authentic Siksika cultural experiences. The Siksika people invite you to embark on a spiritual journey through informative exhibits and tours! Enjoy a seasonal Indigenous menu and take in the dazzling performances. Visit Siksika Nation’s proud heritage!
Where: Lennox Island First Nation, PEI
Don’t miss: Three Authentic Mi’kmaq Cultural Experiences
Learn about harvesting porcupine quill and birch bark and why our people were once known as the “Porcupine People” while making a beautiful piece of quill artwork. Interested to hear what Mother Earth’s heartbeat sounds like? The beat of One Drum is the experience for you! Learn all about the supplies used while constructing your very own ten-inch Mi’kmaq hand drum. Last, but certainly not least, Bannock and Clams in the Sand is an experience like no other! Learn how to make our traditional bread Bannock and how we cooked it years ago.
Where: Carcross, Yukon
Don’t miss: Authentic Yukon Culture and History
Browse Carcross Commons for unique souvenirs locally made by artisans; hike and bike Montana Mountain; explore the Carcross/Tagish Learning Centre to learn more about the local culture of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation through guided tours and fascinating exhibitions. Feel amazed by the exceptional scenery and natural gems of our mountains, lakes, desert, beaches, fish, plants, birds and animals. Join us at the halfway point between Skagway and Whitehorse—Carcross is the “crossing” where all cultures can gather together. We welcome you on the Carcross/Tagish First Nation Traditional Territory; join us and be part of our story!
Where: M’Chigeeng First Nation, Ontario (central)
Don’t miss: Artists’ Studio
The Enaamijige Yaang (Our Vision) Studios offers in-house artists the chance to showcase their respective fields of crafts and designs. Besides showcasing their craftmanship, they offer drop-in and scheduled workshops for groups or individuals, in crafts such as leatherwork, beadwork and quillwork. Each artist has been passed down their respective craft and designs from family members and communities, enriching Anishinaabe culture and traditions on Mnidoo Mnising (also known as Manitoulin Island) Anishinabek territory!
Where: Whitehorse, Yukon
Don’t miss: Cultural Tour with a Local Guide
Join us at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, where we celebrate the culture and traditions of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation. Come explore our exhibits, experience amazing festivals, meet our talented Artists-in-Residence and take a tour of our inspirational Centre with a guide from the Kwanlin Dün Nation.
Where: Gaspé, Quebec
Don’t miss: Trying your Hand at Traditional Crafts!
Participate in one of our creative activities such as crafting dream catchers, making porcupine quill jewelry or weaving cedar baskets and feel connected to the Mi’gmaq culture of Gespeg. Learn more about Mi’gmaq culture and the life of our Gespeg ancestors on a guided tour where you’ll travel back to the year 1675 to understand how our ancestors lived throughout all four seasons.
Where: Odanak, Quebec
Don’t miss: Visit Kwigw8mna
Discover Kwigw8mna “our home”; an exciting new building outside the museum constructed as a reproduction of a traditional Abenaki house from the 19th century; a time of great change for our Nation where despite colonial pressure, traditional knowledge and values still held strong. Immerse yourself in the heart of Abenaki life in this unique space.