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A cultural education in Squamish

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by Joanne Hunton-Sehdev
September 6, 2016

Community investment, Aboriginal

Want to learn how the trickster raven brought sunlight to the world?

Head to Squamish to hear this story and other enlightening Squamish Nation legends, as you walk through a serene forest (and possibly encounter curious bears and other local wildlife). Squamish Nation member Chrystal Nahanee has created Kwemkwemshenam Cultural Walking Tours, and we connected with Chrystal to see how we can support her business through our community investment programs. Her tours aim to educate the public about Aboriginal history, culture and environmental responsibility.

I recently attended her inaugural Squamish tour, which was absolutely amazing, educational and heartwarming at the same time.

On August 12, I headed up the Sea to Sky Highway to our meeting point near the Squamish Estuary.  We started with a traditional blessing and song from the Squamish Nation—a very emotional experience. During the tour we listened to stories of the raven and Sasquatch, and learned about the healing properties of indigenous plants. In fact Iris - one of our guides - brought with her an insect repellent made by her Grandmother from indigenous plants.

In addition to Chrystal, we heard from Rebecca, a Squamish Nation language expert and storyteller, and Iris, a cultural expert who explained how traditions are passed down from generation to generation.

The Squamish Chief newspaper called the tour “…a journey of discovery” and I can certainly attest to that. It was informative, engaging and fun, but what struck me most was the deep connection between the Squamish Nation and the land. I’m keen to share my experience and learn more about our connection to the land.
- Jo Hunton-Sehdev