Indigenous Culture

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Indigenous Culture

We would like to acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the traditional territories of the Sinixt, the Syilx, and the Ktunaxa peoples, and is home to many diverse indigenous persons including the Metis.


The Ktunaxa (pronounced ‘k-too-nah-ha’) people have been in our region, along Kootenay Lake, for more than 10,000 years. Ktunaxa lived across many kilometres in the now boundaries of Alberta, Montana, Washington and Idaho. They lived off the land migrating throughout the seasons following the water, protection from the elements, hunting and collecting herbs, medicines and vegetables.

In the late 1800s European settlements establishment the Indian Reserves, which led to the present Indian Bands. There are six Bands located throughout historic traditional Ktunaxa territory.  Many live on and off the reserves creating new employment and business opportunities. The most significant impact of the Ktunaxa in our region has been the acquisition of Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort by the Yaqan Nukiy (Lower Kootenay Band).

The Ktunaxa language is very unique and titled landmarks confirm this region as traditional Ktunaxa land. They are a distinctive people with their own language, arts and culture. 

The Ktunaxa are connected to the Grizzly Bear Spirit that was born here. The Grizzly Bear Spirit is an important source of guidance, strength, protection and spirituality for the Ktunaxa. You can learn more about them on their website. Their creation story takes you on a journey of learning and understanding their values, then and now.

We acknowledge the Sinixt and Sylis as part of the peoples of this land, and at this time there are no public indigenous experiences to share. From time to time there will be a speaker or celebration recognizing their place in this land. Our community calendar will have the event listed. Check it out before you travel and who knows, you may just be lucky enough to experience a unique part of our history.


Pictographs on the shores of Kootenay Lake.
Photo: Nelson Star News

There are pictographs located along the lower rockwalls of Kootenay Lake. If you paddle by, looking closely, you may see remnants of a time gone by, animals and lifestyle of the Indigenous peoples.

Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort

Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort is owned and operated by the Lower Kootenay Band of Creston

They embraced the nupika wu’u, Spirit Water, or hot mineral waters, for their healing and rejuvenating powers. Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort has been welcoming guests since the 1930s and has upgraded its facility to be a one-of-a-kind experience. The Spirit Waters Spa and Ktunaxa Grill, along with the soothing pools and cave makes for a memorable, and relaxing experience. 

Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History

Touchstones Museum possesses a wealth of information about our region: geographically, culturally and historically. The permanent museum on the second floor takes you on a journey before political boundaries; only the boundaries of mountains and waterways. The journey of the Indigenous people then leads into the European exploration, trade, mining, trains, hydropower and into today. 

Langham Cultural Centre

Kaslo has a diverse history with immigrants and first nations caring for and living off the land. The Langham Cultural Centre holds images and stories of the past on it's walls and also curates contemporary exhibits in it's main gallery. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the vast influences of this little village. They constantly have events and can be found on the community calendar.



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