Sharing Their Culture - The Xeni Gwet'in People
If you're looking for the performance schedule, the stage and the lighting – you've come to the wrong place. If you're looking for a truly memorable visit with an indigenous people, a chance to experience their culture first hand, then a trip to the traditional Tsilhqot'in territory of the Xeni Gwet'in First Nation in British Columbia, Canada is a must.
Located a quick one hour charter flight from Vancouver to one of several private airstrips, a visit to the Xeni Gwet'in Caretaker Area offers a rare glimpse into a land where people have tread lightly, in harmony with nature and in keeping with Xeni tradition. This is a land where a traveler is both humbled and inspired by massive mountain ranges, high alpine lakes and mighty carnivores; where a sense of freedom reigns and each day is met with excitement and wonder.
The best way to begin your cultural journey is a visit to the Xeni Gwet'in Traditional Village. There you'll meet with a local Xeni guide for a tour of the site and sit down together to share a meal cooked over an open fire. You'll likely hear the legend of Tsil?os – and you'll learn to be wary not to point at him unless you want some bad weather to move in.
The Traditional Village includes a winter lodge and covered shelter and was developed to interpret the culture and traditions of the Xeni Gwet'in. Depending on when you visit, there are demonstrations on how to prepare meat and dry fish, and how to roast or cook under ground in the ancient ways. The site provides
a space to share traditional botanical, medicinal and ecological knowledge as well. Overnight lodging in the Earth Lodge can be arranged.
The best way to experience Xeni culture is by booking a stay at one of several lodges in the territory that have signed a Sustainable Tourism Protocol with the Xeni Gwet'in in support of environmental protection and the development of sustainable tourism. These lodges offer incredible wilderness experiences including horse pack trips, alpine hiking, kayaking, canoeing and fishing on the region's many rivers and lakes. Family run, warm and hospitable, lodge owners are happy to organize tours to the Xeni Gwet'in Traditional Village and transfers to any of the annual events. They often employ the Xeni as guides and are able to offer cultural knowledge along with access to a magnificent and pristine wilderness.