Home #WHERETONEXT Canada National Indigenous History Month: Indigenous Arts and Culture Experiences in BC

National Indigenous History Month: Indigenous Arts and Culture Experiences in BC

National Indigenous History Month is an opportunity for everyone to continue their reconciliation efforts by learning about the unique history and cultures of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis who have resided on this land since immemorial. 

Copper Sun Gallery & Journeys – Bella Coola, BC

Copper Sun Gallery & Journeys offers authentic Nuxalk (Nu-halk) artwork and outdoor cultural tours. The Nuxalk territory is home to spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife, & dramatic mountain peaks, and ancient petroglyphs – rock carvings estimated to be over 5000 years old. Guests can choose tour offerings from accomplished culturalists such as the Petroglyph Tour, River Rafting, Walk of the Totems, which travels from the banks of the Bella Coola River to the traditional school, and the Big Cedars Tour, where attendees can learn the Nuxalk peoples many uses of the cedar tree including how it is harvested for carving and weaving.

Bill Reid Gallery – Vancouver, BC A tribute to the legendary Haida master artist, the Bill Reid Gallery is the only public Gallery in Canada dedicated to contemporary Indigenous Northwest Coast Art. Located within the shared, unceded, ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, the gallery is committed to celebrating Bill Reid’s remarkable legacy and fostering meaningful connections among diverse communities, including Indigenous and settler populations. Visitors to the gallery can experience the Bill Reid SFU Art Collection, special exhibitions and programs, and a series of dynamic exhibitions and learning programs showcasing contemporary Indigenous artists’ remarkable work.

Haida Heritage Centre at Kay Llnagaay – Skidegate, BC

Celebrate Haida Heritage Centre, an award-winning Aboriginal cultural tourism attraction located in Ḵay ‘Llnagaay or “Sea-Lion Town,” an ancient village site in Haida Gwaii on BC’s Northwest coast. The stunning 50,000 sq foot center is designed to resemble the traditional oceanside Haida village that once stood in its place with a series of traditional long houses constructed to blend into the original Haida Gwaii Museum. 

Guests are invited to immerse themselves in the vibrant culture of the Haida people, where language, art, and stories reveal a deep connection to the land and sea. Haida Heritage Centre offers individual and private group experiences, including pole, canoe, and weaving tours, where guests can explore traditions and beliefs, foster artistic expression, and help preserve Kay ‘Llnagaay’s rich heritage.

House of Himwitsa Native Art Gallery – Tofino, BC

Owned by Nuu-Chah-Nulth (New-chan-lulth) Nation Hereditary Chief Lewis George and his wife, Cathy, the House of Himwitsa Native Art Gallery brings together the best of local First Nations artisans to celebrate the beauty of the natural surroundings and the richness of First Nations culture. Himwitsa, a name woven with wisdom, echoes the ancient tongues of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth people, symbolizing the passing of knowledge from revered elders to the eager hearts of youth.

I-HOS Gallery – Courtenay, BC

Owned and operated by K’omoks (Co-mox) First Nation, the I-HOS Gallery is located on the site of the original K’ómoks Village and features Northwest Coast art, including masks, prints, jewelry, and carvings accompanied by legends, stories, and artist biographies. Visitors to I-HOS will enjoy the gallery’s beautiful house-front design crafted by Calvin Hunt, with assistance from his nephew Mervyn Child and cousin Geary Cranmer. The artwork incorporates the K’ómoks People’s crests, featuring the whale “Queneesh” and the double-headed sea serpent “I-Hos.”

‘Ksan Historical Village and Museum – ‘Ksan, BC

The ‘Ksan Historical Village and Museum, situated near the ancient village of Gitanmaax, offers a deep dive into Gitxsan (Git-k-san) culture and history. Home of the Gitxsan peoples for over 8000 years, ‘Ksan is a place to honor generations past and present and is a premier showcase of Indigenous culture. Visitors can explore the site, located directly beside the ‘Ksan Campground, where they can discover artifacts and recreations of tools, masks, and art, providing insight into the lives of the Gitxsan people many centuries ago.

Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre – Whistler, BC

The Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Líḻwat7ul Cultural Centre (Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, SLCC) is an Indigenous-owned First Nations Museum, art gallery, gift shop, and café, offering guests the opportunity to experience stories and artifacts from the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and the Lil̓wat7úl Nations. The award-winning cultural center blends traditional Squamish Longhouse architecture with Lil’wat Istken design. The facility, designed to evoke a traditional Squamish longhouse and Lil’wat Istken, serves as a hub for education and cultural exchange, showcasing distinctive carved house posts, canoes, spindle whorls, weaving, regalia, bold artwork, and artifacts throughout the museum and galleries. Visitors engage with Cultural Ambassadors through traditional drum songs, inspiring short films, and guided museum tours, immersing themselves in the heritage of the two distinct cultures.

U’mista Cultural Centre – Alert Bay, BC

U’mista Cultural Centre is a prominent First Nations cultural facility standing as a testament to the resilience and revitalization of Indigenous culture. The center’s mission is to house historic potlatch artifacts and ensure the survival of Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw (KWOK-wok-ya-wokw) cultural heritage. The focus of the permanent collection is the “Potlatch Collection.” Other permanent exhibits on display include descriptions of the traditional ethnobiology of the Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw and origin stories of the Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw villages, as well as historical and contemporary Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw objects. Visitors can explore the heritage of First Nations culture through permanent and traveling exhibits, group tours, and dance experiences.