A young visitor experiences the virtual reality of mushing at Fort Langley National historic site. Submitted photos

Fort Langley celebrates Indigenous culture with displays, activities

Visitors can connect with First Nations culture through stories, demonstrations, and fun

National Indigenous Peoples Day at Fort Langley National Historic Site will offer visitors a chance to connect with Indigenous culture through stories, demonstrations, and fun.

On Saturday, June 23 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., costumed interpreters will offer guided tours as Parks Canada and Indigenous peoples work together to present interpretive materials and activities at the site.

Tours will focus on how the Hudson’s Bay Company built Fort Langley in 1827 on the banks of the Fraser River, intending to trade with Aboriginal people. The Kwantlen and other Indigenous people brought furs and salmon to trade at Fort Langley in exchange for metal tools, blankets and other goods. The fort’s workers also married Aboriginal women, creating stronger trade relationships.

After the tours, participate in a fun “Salmon Run Relay” for all ages. Families will love the new Children’s Play area, which contains a series of interactive exhibits, including a dedicated toddler area.

Children will discover the history of this land through the themes of trade and transportation, presented from the perspective of both First Nations communities and fur traders. At the trade window node, children will discover resources that the First Nations people used, such as cranberries and salmon, and the European trade goods such as axe heads and blankets that the HBC traders brought with them. There are two boats to climb in, one a Coast Salish canoe and one a fur trader’s bateau.

On a large map of the place now called British Columbia, families can explore the way the land looked before roads were built, and see where First Nations communities lived and how the Hudson’s Bay Company integrated itself into the network of trade.

At noon, Fern Gabriel of Kwantlen First Nation will be on site to offer a walking tour. At 1 p.m., there will be a drumming and singing performance.

Ken Pruden, a Métis guest, will be sharing Métis stories throughout the day upstairs in the Big House, where there is a new Métis exhibit on display. Pruden has a personal connection to the exhibit, having loaned several of the items on display to the site.

At 2 p.m., site staff will do a baking demonstration.

Until Sept. 3, Fort Langley National Historic Site will present Indigenous Ingenuity: Timeless Inventions, an original production of the Montreal Science Centre. This special exhibit allows visitors to explore timeless Indigenous science through an interactive experience featuring activities like virtual canoe racing, dog sledding, and fishing. Through its playful, game-filled environment, visitors discover the cultural and technological wealth of the First Peoples, creating opportunities for learning and better understanding of Indigenous cultures and history. The exhibition’s contemporary aesthetic, along with the presence of Indigenous knowledge bearers at each innovation, underscores the vitality of these cultures.

Regular admission fees are in effect for National Indigenous Peoples Day ($7.80 per adult, $6.55 per senior), including free admission for youth (17 and under) and annual pass holders.

 

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