Sunday, November 14, 2010
A journey into First Nations culture
Next door sits the abandoned, decaying St. Michael=s residential school, a hulking, red-bricked reminder of the persecution of the Native people.
Then we visit the Big House where a large fire lights the dusky interior, showing colourful totems and immense cedar posts and beams. Amidst the smell of smoke and cedar four men drum on a log. The “Determined” dancers, mostly youngsters, circle the flaming fire, proudly performing traditional dances in native regalia.
I am touched by the cemetery in the middle of downtown with its extraordinary array of totems as well as crosses, a strange mixture of Native and non-Native faiths.
One day, the captain catches up with the A12 pod of killer whales (aka orcas). High black dorsal fins slice effortlessly through the water and spouts of spray rise in the air.