From spending the night in your own tipi to sampling traditional foods, travellers can immerse themselves in First Nations culture and traditions.
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Experiencing Canada from an Aboriginal perspective is a unique adventure that allows you to connect hands-on with the history, nature, culture and traditions of the First Nations. Bake bannock bread over an open fire, brew tea from native plants you picked yourself or create your own traditional drum. Sleep in a tipi on warm buffalo hides or hear stories from Inuit elders about a nomadic life lived on the tundra. Stay overnight in a First Nation’s community-owned lodge before seeking out sacred white spirit bears in the world’s largest intact rainforest.
Here’s a glimpse of First Nations-based adventures:
· Set sail on board Maple Leaf Adventures’ classic Canadian schooner to explore the southern archipelago of Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) off northern British Columbia’s coast. Voyage amid moss-draped rainforestislands to former villages such as SGaang Gwaii, a UNESCO World Heritage site where rare clusters of carved Haida mortuary poles tilt with age. Appreciate rich native art and traditions at the Haida Heritage Centre, then step back on board to savour meals that include the local prawns, crab and sea asparagus you foraged yourself.
· Journey back a thousand years to live in a real tipi on sacred land at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park in the Bow River Valley near Calgary, AB. Take part in pow-wow dancing and singing, and sample traditional foods such as buffalo meat and Saskatoon berry soup. Gather around a campfire with members of the Blackfoot community, listening to elders’ legends and buffalo-hunt tales. Then bed down under the stars in your own tipi.
· Join international researchers in remote northern Labrador for a glimpse into an ancient hunter/gatherer lifestyle at the Inuit Torngat Mountains Base Camp. Learn about climate change at the research station while interacting with Inuit youth and Parks Canada staff. Hike and cruise along iceberg-dotted fjords, on the lookout for caribou, whales, polar bears and ancient archaeological sites. Hear Inuit elders’ stories around a beach campfire before sleeping beneath the midnight sun.
· Check into the luxurious longhouse-inspired Huron Wendat Heritage / Hotel-Musee Premiere Nations north of Québec City, QC, a unique hotel and museum operated by the local First Nations people. Learn to canoe on a river. Take part in a pow-wow and try to shoot a bow and arrow. Learn what it takes to be a shaman. Enjoy northern forest delicacies such as bison, pheasant, caribou, fiddleheads and home-smoked fish before settling into an Aboriginal-inspired spa treatment.
Want more? Here are three extra Aboriginal adventures to explore:
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