By Melanie Stirling
In 2020, Vancouver was listed as one of the top four most multicultural cities in Canada. Having a city rich in cultural diversity and history offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a different culture than your own.
View of downtown Vancouver. Photo: LukeL, pixabay.
Indigenous peoples have lived here since time immemorial. With this history comes a rich and diverse culture that is still very present in the city, providing great opportunities to experience and learn about Indigenous cultures.
Coast Salish totem poles in Stanley Park. Photo: dronepicr, Flickr.
Here are some ways to get out there and engage with First Nations culture around Metro Vancouver!
The Museum of Anthropology (MOA) offers a place of world arts and cultures, with a special emphasis on First Nations and other cultural communities of British Columbia.
The Museum of Anthropology. Photo: Colin Knowles, Flickr.
The MOA shares that they are committed to promoting the awareness and understanding of culturally diverse ways of knowing the world through challenging and innovative programs and partnerships with Indigenous, local, and global communities. The MOA has been essential in bringing Indigenous art to everyone by collecting and curating traditional and contemporary Indigenous art in a respectful way. It is here that you can wander and explore the nearly 50,000 objects that the MOA has on display.
Inside the Great Hall of the Museum of Anthropology. Photo: Raymond Bucko, SJ, Flickr.
The MOA also offers the opportunity to explore their collections online with their Collections Online (MOA-CAT) system.
Another way to engage with First Nations culture is with Talaysay Tours. They offer authentic cultural and eco-tourism experiences in and around Vancouver, Squamish, and the Sunshine Coast. They also offer online virtual tours. First Nation guides lead these excursions and share ancient and contemporary stories of people, the land, legends, and their Indigenous ways of living while exploring all the beautiful sights that the west coast has to offer.
A group on a Talaysay tour. Photo: Bryan & Megan Jackson, Flickr.
With six incredible tours to choose from, you can unleash your inner art enthusiast as you explore the Indigenous art in Stanley Park with a trained Indigenous artist or wander through lush green forests with a First Nations guide and cultural ambassador. There’s something for everyone at Talaysay Tours, so make sure you check it out!
Cheakamus Centre is an overnight field school and environmental studies facility located on 165 ha of ecological reserve.
Cheakamus Centre. Photo: Natulive Canada, Flickr.
Their vision is to be a dynamic centre of excellence for environmental and Indigenous cultural education, and a welcoming place for learning, gathering, and sharing in nature. This Centre offers a variety of environmental and cultural programs, and engaging Indigenous educational experiences that are rooted in Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) culture. These programs are guided by First Nations interpreters and those who attend will be immersed in traditional Coast Salish practices, including activities (even a sleepover option!) in an authentic longhouse where they say First Nations culture comes alive.
Inside the longhouse at the Cheakamus Centre. Photo: Natulive Canada, Flickr.
Takaya tours with Tsleil-Waututh shares that they provide a unique opportunity where you can board a 35 foot traditional style ocean-going canoe and take a journey across the waters and back through time.
Takaya Tour on a 35 foot traditional ocean-going canoe. Photo: Takaya Tours.
On this expedition, while paddling along the rich marine coastlines of Burrard Inlet and the Indian Arm, experienced guides from Tsleil-Waututh Nation sing songs, share legends and point out ancient village sites.
Another great way to experience another culture is through their cuisine! Salmon n’ Bannock Bistro is a great place to taste First Nations’ flavours and feed your spirit!
Salmon n' Bannock restaurant. Photo: Salmon n' Bannock.
They share that their intention is to provide a gathering place where the focus is on the people and the food. Here you can try dishes such as candied salmon, bannock tacos, and their “Feel the Beet” power salad.
The food at Salmon n’ Bannock. Photo: Salmon n’ Bannock.
Experiencing and learning about different cultures is a great way to create cultural awareness and acceptance, which in turn can help to break down cultural barriers. Indigenous culture is extremely valuable and important to the history and culture of Vancouver, we hope you take advantage of this vibrant city and explore some of the Indigenous cultural adventures that are right out your front door!