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Bringing attention to forgotten causes and an ancient people, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be meeting with a number of First Nations groups, visiting them and shining a spotlight on their traditions, histories, languages and cultures. On Tuesday,...

Royal tour spotlights First Nations | Toronto Star

Bringing attention to forgotten causes and an ancient people, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be meeting with a number of First Nations groups, visiting them and shining a spotlight on their traditions, histories, languages and cultures. On Tuesday,...

Royal tour spotlights First Nations  | Toronto Star

Bringing attention to forgotten causes and an ancient people, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be meeting with a number of First Nations groups, visiting them and shining a spotlight on their traditions, histories, languages and cultures.

On Tuesday, Prince William and Kate Middleton will mark the conclusion of the 10-year anniversary celebration of the University of British Columbia Okanagan and the 100th anniversary of the University of British Columbia. The institution has a long and deep relation with the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA).

The ONA was formed in 1981 and represents the eight member communities in the territory: Okanagan Indian Band, Upper Nicola Band, Westbank First Nation, Penticton Indian Band, Osoyoos Indian Band and Lower and Upper Similkameen Indian Bands and the Colville Confederated Tribes. The Okanagan (Syilx) people’s territory encompasses land in both British Columbia and Washington, an area of approximately 69,000 square kilometres. According to the ONA’s website, the Syilx people still affirm the land is theirs, because a treaty was never negotiated.

The ONA website says that word “Syilx” takes its meaning from several different images, including combining many into one, and a command for every individual to continuously bind and unify with the rest, concepts the ONA website says underline their consideration of the meaning of aboriginal title and rights.

Okanagan Lake and Okanagan River as well as other water systems were the traditional transportation routes of the Syilx, and they traditionally hunted, fished, farmed and crafted throughout their territory, creating a self-sufficient economy.

On Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess will experience “local Tagish traditions, culture and heritage, and witness the innovative economic development initiatives led by the Carcross Tagish Management Corporation,” according to their itinerary.

Shortly after arriving in Whitehorse, the royal family will visit the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, which the itinerary calls “a centrepiece of downtown Whitehorse situated on the banks of the Yukon River.” The itinerary says the centre features cultural exhibits and local First Nations art, and the couple will view “Land of Gold — A Yukon Cultural Celebration,” which highlights the diversity and depth of Yukon’s cultural scene. “Dancers, drummers and musicians from a variety of genres and backgrounds share their songs and stories in a dynamic performance,” the itinerary reads.

Carcross/Tagish First Nation represents six clans: the Daklaweidi and Yan Yedi clans, who are the Wolf Moiety, and the Deisheetaan, Ganaxtedi, Ishkahittaan and Kookhittaan clans, who are of the Crow Moiety. According to the Carcross/Tagish First Nation website, each clan owns and carries their own crest or emblem, which can be attached to regalia to identify which clan the owner belongs to. Spirituality and respect for the land is held in very high regard within the Carcross/Tagish First Nation; art forms express their spiritual relationship and interconnectedness with each other, the land, water and animals, the website says.

According to the Carcross/Tagish First Nation website, for thousands of years, the Carcross/Tagish First Nation people have lived off the land, using, and still using, trails within Southern Yukon, Alaska and Northern British Columbia, including the famous Chilkoot Trail, to partake in hunting, fishing, trapping, and gathering traditional medicines and berries. These activities are still important and part of the First Nation’s lifestyle today.

On Friday, the Royal couple will visit the Haida Heritage Center and Museum, and will take a tour of the Carving House and Welcome House.

They will canoe from Skidegate Landing to Haida Heritage Centre and Museum in Haida Gwaii, the ancestral home of the Haida Nation.

Traditionally occupying the coastal bays and inlets of Haida Gwaii, about 2,500 Haida — the Aboriginal people — have been living on those islands for about 6,000 to 8,000 years.

The Haida belonged to two social groups — the Raven or the Eagle. Individuals claimed clan membership through sophisticated displays of inherited family crests carved on totem poles that were erected in front of houses and carved or painted on war canoes, cedar boxes and decorative objects, according to the Canadian Encyclopedia.

Today, many Haida are famous for their artwork, while others work in commercial fisheries, ecotourism and forestry.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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