First Nations Art & Culture in Vancouver Today
The official 2010 Olympic symbol in Vancouver was the Inukshuk, which traditionally means “You are on the right path” or “Someone was here.” In traditional Inuit culture, this stone figure is used for a variety of purposes: to mark migration routes and fishing spots, memorials for the dead, and as navigational aids.
With the arrival of the Olympics games, Vancouver became a city that was proud to display the First Nations traditions and culture. Most Olympic venues featured art works of First Nations artists that remain as permanent pieces for Vancouverites to enjoy.
First Nations art galleries can be found in abundance in downtown Vancouver, most notably in Gastown. When arriving at the Vancouver International Airport, visitors cannot miss the famous Bill Reid sculpture, The Spirit of Haida Gwai, which can also be found on the Canadian 20 dollar bill.
The ultimate destination for tourists is the renowned Museum of Anthropology at UBC. Well known Musqueam artist Susan Point has contributed a sculpted totem to the UBC First Nations Longhouse. A display of totem poles can also be seen at Stanley Park.
Most traditional ceremonies are closed to the public as First Nations communities do not want to commercialize such sacred traditions of their culture. However, tourists can visit historical sites such as the Xa:ytem Rock in Mission BC. As publicized in the Aboriginal Association of BC , many First Nations tours are being offered including canoe trips and First Nations sculptural workshops.