people were called to bear witness to the launch of the Squamish Lil’wat
Cultural Centre by Chief Ian Campbell Tuesday afternoon, forever tying them to
the new facility.
while he wasn’t among the seven, the provincial minister responsible for
Tourism, Sports and the Arts, Stan Hagen, made a prediction.
believe it’s going to draw tourists from around the world. I believe it’s going
to make a difference to your community,” said Hagen.
is going to be a very, very great addition to Whistler, the province of British
Columbia and to Canada.”
price tag of the cultural centre has climbed again — to $28.4 million — and
there is still a funding shortfall. But after a tour of the facility, which is
scheduled to open in the spring of 2008, Hagen, Lil’wat Chief Leonard Andrew,
Squamish Chief Gibby Jacob and others gathered Tuesday expressed their support
and excitement about the opportunities ahead.
30,000 square foot cultural centre, which incorporates the traditional long
house of the Coast Salish people and the Istken of the Interior Salish in its
design, is to be the focal point of a new era for the Squamish and Lil’wat
First Nations. The facility grew out of a 2001 protocol agreement between the
Squamish and Lil’wat, which ties the two first nations together on a shared
what I’m most proud of,” said Jacob.
cultural centre will include an 80-seat theatrical centre for live
performances, an outdoor arts and crafts demonstration area, a 1,200 square
foot retail store, a cultural tour booking centre, an Aboriginal tourism
information centre and an artists training program. It was also announced Tuesday
that the Four Seasons Resort Whistler has partnered with the cultural centre on
a café and catering facility with traditional native and west coast cuisine.
agreement between the Four Seasons and the cultural centre was signed by
general manager Scott Taber, Chief Julie Baker of the Squamish Nation and Ruth
Dick of the Lil’wat using a pen made from cedar, rock, reindeer hide and an
Four Seasons is very proud and very excited to be part of this,” said Taber,
who was also one of the witnesses called.
rivers, mountains and people meet” is the theme of the cultural centre, which
will also employ a logo unveiled Tuesday. The logo incorporates the step
pattern found in Lil’wat woven baskets and the “Salish eye” representing the watchful
eyes of past and future generations and often carved in Squamish paddles and
canoes. The symbols are on a circle representing a spindle whorl, a tool used
by both nations to spin mountain goat wool.
addition to the cultural centre Chief Ian Campbell outlined a Sea to Sky
Highway signage program that will incorporate First Nations art and history.
realize we are largely invisible in our own land,” Campbell said.
want to invite people to our territories, as hosts.”
signs will mark the way along the highway and kiosks will invite people to stop
and enjoy the journey.
book of Squamish and Lil’wat culture is also planned to complement the sign