July 25, 2011

First Nations cruise in British Columbia

A Cruise into First Nations Culture

By Hans TammemagiWe arrive at Alert Bay on Cormorant Island off the northeast coast of Vancouver Island. Over a century ago this was the site of a vibrant village, dominated by large cedar longhouses that extended almost to the waterline, with elegant towering totem poles at attention before every house. Today, I see a different picture. Moss-encrusted piers, several with missing planks, jut into the bay. Fishing boats with paint flaking from rusty hulls bob in the water. The tang of salt, seaweed and rotting fish hangs in the air. A few colourful totem poles punctuate the drab waterfront, reminders that this place, which has been home to the Namgis First Nation for thousands of years, has seen better days.

My wife and I are aboard the Columbia III on a First Nations’ cruise operated by Mothership Adventures that will meander amongst the hundreds of glorious isles of the Broughton Archipelago to the northeast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, while we learn about Native history and culture.

Lillian Hunt, a Namgis Native and curator of the U’mista Cultural Centre, comes aboard. She will be our guide for the next four days.
Comment:  What's noteworthy here is the existence of a First Nations cruise. The only thing I've heard of that's similar is the Pow Wow Cruise.

Below:  "The vibrant waterfront of Alert Bay circa 1880."

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