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A celebration of First Nations culture

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Province comes through with funding for Weetama

What: Weetama

Where: Throughout village and Ross Rebagliati Park

When: Friday, Aug. 8 to Sunday, Aug. 17

Thanks to a new financial boost from the provincial government, backed by a growing reputation as a rewarding, educational and exciting event for the whole family, the third annual First Nations celebration in Whistler, called Weetama, is on schedule to be bigger and better than ever.

A new location, by the cool, tree-lined banks of Fitzimmon Creek, an expanded event program and more corporate and public support, mean that you, the attendee will benefit most in this cultural celebration hosted by our native neighbours.

Local Aboriginal communities, the Lil'wat Nation (Mount Currie Band) and the Squamish Nation, have joined forces once again with Tourism Whistler to make Weetama a reality for everyone. The proud people of these regions have been working day and night behind the scenes for months to offer the rest of the community a unique, hands-on encounter with ancient cultures.

Some of this year's festival highlights include:

Special ticketed events

History Comes Alive - War Canoe Journeys on Lost Lake

Relive the days when proud warriors of the Coast Salish peoples ruled the waters of B.C. in sleek and agile war stalashen (killer whale) canoes. Built by renowned Coast Salish carver, kwátám-us, the cedar stalashen is an authentic recreation of the war craft that made this group master mariners of the Coast. Come for a ride and learn all the stories. Cost: $25 per person.

Spirit of the Potlatch

This is a celebration of friendship and harmony. Everyone gathers in the longhouse to feast on great food, sing, dance and tell stories from myths and legends. A traditional cedarhouse in Rebagliati Park welcomes you to the full experience. Drummers and dancers in full regalia, the a warm scent of hearth fires, the rich taste of authentic cuisine and the living spirits of an ancient culture. Cost: $35 for adults, $25 for kids and under 5’s are free.

Herbology Walks

Discover the medicine beneath your feet from the Lil’wat Nation’s Lucy Joseph. Learn about the local foliage, including High Bush Cranberry and Mountain Ash and how it is used in for health and wellbeing. Cost: $25 per person.

Free Interactive and Interpretive Experiences

Learn the ancient techniques of filleting, sun drying and smoke-curing salmon. Have a go at traditional fishing methods using spears, nets and bone hooks.

Watch how cedar wood was used to make houses, tools, clothing and magnificent art. Visit a traditional Lil’wat pit house, used for shelter for thousands of years. Step inside a sweat lodge, a significant ceremonial site, and gaze in wonder at authentic tepees.

Song & Dance Performers

Free entertainment will be featured in the Village and Rebagliati Park every afternoon throughout the festival. The diversity of Aboriginal dance features performances by Cujo Dancers & Singers, Zumak7 u'l, Le-La-La Dancers, Eaglestar Dance Troupe, Lac Kaien Tsimshian Dancers, Eagle Song Dancers, Nisga'a Ts'amiiks Dancers, and Turtle Shell Dancers - Lil'wat Youth Dance Group.

"Learn Our Ways" hands-on workshops

Make cedar bracelets, baskets, tools and drums. Learn how to dance and cook in ways you never thought possible. Design and carve original creations and take part in ancient story-telling and songs.

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