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Mysteries & Traditions of the North Coast Peoples

Short Trips

Mysteries & Traditions of the North Coast Peoples

Explore the important role of the Feast and performance art in Northwest Coast culture in this unique tour, combining a museum visit and a real life Feast experience. First learn about the significance of the Feast in a tour of the museum’s galleries with knowledgeable museum guides. Discover ceremonial regalia worn by the chiefs in the Feast: beautifully carved headdresses, intricately designed and woven ceremonial robes, dance aprons transformed by their tinklers into musical instruments, and the famous Raven rattles used only by the chiefs. See great feast dishes, spoons delicately carved out of mountain goat horn, and bent cedar boxes, painted with complex chiefly designs, to be filled with gifts for the guests. View the diverse masks used by dancers to dramatize ancient histories, and the musical instruments - sacred whistles, painted drums, clappers and rattles - that accompanied their ancient songs.

Then enjoy a change of pace with a narrated slide show in the Museum’s media room. View exquisite images of the coastal landscape - from rainforest to alpine meadow to offshore islands - and the plants, wildlife, and sea life that populate these ecosystems. At the same time, learn about the intimate relationship between Northwest Coast peoples and their environment. Discover how they knew and understood their world and thrived in it for thousands of years. They used everything in a sustainable way: puffin beaks (shed every spring) for dance apron tinklers, mountain goat wool, spun with twined cedar bark to make their magnificent ceremonial robes, and the rich seafoods of the coast, and salmon of the Skeena River, that were the mainstay of their diet.

Finally see everything you have discovered come to life when you take a short walk to the Wiiwaabm Ts’msyeen, the Tsimshian Longhouse. Here you will be greeted as a guest in time-honoured Northwest Coast tradition and formally seated. The Gwis’amiilgigohl Dancers in full ceremonial regalia will entertain and delight as they dramatize ancient stories told by the chief and brought to life with songs and mask dancing. Throughout these feast highlights, the chief will explain what you are witnessing and after a parting gift and song, there will be an opportunity for questions and photos. Frequently described as one of the most authentic First Nations museum experiences, this tour will leave you with special memories and a new understanding of Northwest Coast culture.

This tour includes the Museum admission fee so please feel free to return to the Museum to browse and explore on you own

Mysteries & Traditions of the North Coast Peoples
Duration 1.30 Hours
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