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First Nations People

Culture and history

Canada is a tapestry of cultures. The British and French certainly left their mark during colonisation, and America has had an impact as well. But the most important influence comes from Canada's original inhabitants: the First Nations, who make up less than 5% of the population.

The arrival of the Europeans in the 16th century had disastrous consequences for the First Nations population. Plagued by unfamiliar diseases and violently expelled from their land, the impact is still seen today. Yet the culture of the First Nations is very much alive and gives incredible insight into the history of the land.

Make your trip even more meaningful by visiting one of the countless museums on this fascinating culture, or listen to stories first hand from the First Nations communities themselves.

Visit the Indigenous Festival at Trout Lake
© Tourism Vancouver/Vision Event Photography Inc

Museums

You can discover the rich heritage of the First Nations in various museums. One of the most popular is The Canadian Museum of History found in Quebec. The First Peoples Hall showcases the diversity of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis and their contribution to the culture and history of Canada and the rest of the world.

The Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver is known for its exhibitions of world art and cultures and has a large collection of First Nations art and artifacts. The Museum of Vancouver is the oldest museum in the city and focuses on the area’s history in connection with the First Nations. Vancouver's Inuit Gallery has an exhibition of Canadian Aboriginal art ranging from sculptures to jewellery.

Enjoy a variety of cultural museums in British Columbia
Visit the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver

Aboriginal Land

You can experience Indigenous traditions and customs for yourself as you travel through Canada. In the heart of Desolation Sound, between the Coast Mountain peaks and the northern islands of the Salish Sea, lies the territory of the Klahoose First Nations people. Here you can enjoy age-old traditions and breathtaking nature. Spot grizzly bears, kayak alongside a pod of whales, or take a forest walk through the largest temperate rainforest on Earth. Your native guides will be there for the journey to share ancient Klahoose wisdom and traditions.

Or, explore Indigenous art during your stay at a First Nations hotel in Vancouver. The rooms are designed by local native artists and interior designers to tell extraordinary visual stories about First Nations culture. The hotel itself is home to many original native paintings, jewellery, pottery, carvings and more.

Discover the Klahoose Indigenous Culture in British Columbia
© Michele Broadfoot
You'll be amazed by the boundless nature of the Coast Mountains
Visit the First Nations in the Northern Rockies
© Northern BC Tourism/Ryan Dickie
Did you know that there is world championship for 'hoop dancing'?
© Northern BC Tourism/Ryan Dickie

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More is possible than you may think

You probably already have ideas for your holiday to America and Canada. Nature tours through the Rocky Mountains, spotting orcas near the San Juan Islands, or exploring the streets of San Francisco on the iconic cable car?

For the best local tips and advice, visit one of our online presentations. Meet our travel specialists and have all of your questions answered.