Vancouver Culture

First Nations

The term First Nations is the term used for the indigenous peoples of the Americas located in Canada, except for the Arctic-situated Inuit, and peoples of mixed European-First Nations ancestry called Métis There are currently over 630 recognized First Nations bands (700,000 people)spread across Canada, with about half found in Ontario and British Columbia.By 500 BC – 1000 AD First Nations had settled across Canada. Each tribe developed its own culture, customs, legends, and characteristics.

I traveled with Takaya Tours, an eco-cultural tourism enterprise owned by the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation of North Vancouver, BC, which was created to help visitors learn about First Nations history and culture. It offers a authentic Indigenous coastal experience accessible in an urban setting. The tour combined a soft adventure with cultural learning. We took off with guides from Cates Park in North Vancouver to paddle in ocean-going canoes and kayaks through the Burrard inlet. The guides sang traditional songs and told stories about their heritage. They pointed out locations of ancient Native sites and shared with us the cultural history of the Inlet and the traditional methods used for identifying local flora and fauna.