The North Thompson is a very uniquely beautiful, large area with many diverse cultures that have settled here. Within the North Thompson we celebrate families of many First Nations people. We have Metis, Cree, Ojibway, Micmac and Inuit, to name a few. We honour and respect the Simpcw First Nation in whose territory we are in and we thank them for their continued support in our efforts to create a lasting legacy for all to enjoy through the North Thompson Aboriginal Centre.
In 2009 we decided to have a place in the North Thompson Valley that would be welcoming to all and culturally sensitive to the needs of all Aboriginal people within the North Thompson Valley. With the help of our main stream children’s programs through Aboriginal Success by 6 in Clearwater, Barriere and Blue River we were able to access funding to put towards a small rental space and thus the North Thompson Aboriginal Cultural Center was opened. Both Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal successfully worked together to make this happen. ‘The Centre’ and Success by 6 continue to work closely.
For the last 5 years, we have worked to promote and build relationships, raise cultural awareness between all peoples, and to provide opportunities to share traditional, cultural and spiritual values. All of this has been done by a very dedicated group of volunteers. Some of the services we offer through ‘The Centre’ include:
· DROP IN CENTRE: A Drop-In Centre that welcomes all!
· MEALS AND SHARING: Potluck lunches, traditional meals and sharing programs.
· GIFT SHOP/GALLERY: Our Gift Shop features the works of local Aboriginal Artists as well as art from other interested and talented Aboriginal artisans throughout the province of British Columbia, Canada.
· HISTORICAL MUSEUM: A Museum which displays historical relics, art and information on the history of Aboriginal and Metis peoples, locally and nationally.
· STORYTELLING AND WORKSHOPS: ‘The Center’ provides the opportunity for awareness of our culture to ALL ages through storytelling and the creation of traditional crafts and also via a variety of workshops
· CONNECTION CIRCLES: Connection Circle meet regularly throughout the North Thompson Valley in Blue River at the Blue River Playgroup, at Building Blocks Daycare in Clearwater sponsored by Yellowhead Community Services and at the Strong Start Program in Barriere, B.C.
We are active in several annual community events throughout the North Thompson Valley – some examples:
- Health Fair held in Chu Chua
- The Living Well Expo Barriere
- The Ready Set Learn and Health and Wellness events held in Barriere.
- National Aboriginal Day & Louis Riel Day Celebrations
- Children’s Art Festival
- Clearwater & District Canoe Regatta
- Canada Day, B.C. Day, and Family Day
- Arts Health & Wellness Expo
MISSION / VISION OBJECTIVES: The North Thompson Aboriginal Cultural Centre promotes and builds positive relationships with those around us, supporting local groups such as; ‘Changes that Heal’ hosted by The Royal Purple, The North Thompson Community Foundation and The Clearwater & Area Food Bank. We continue to foster new and worthwhile partnerships throughout the North Thompson as part of our overall Mission / Vision objectives.
OUR NON PROFIT SOCIETY: On March 19th of 2013 The North Thompson Aboriginal Cultural Centre became our own Non Profit Registered Society. We are extremely proud of this accomplishment as we operated until that point as a volunteer based group and often giving from our own pockets to continue our dedicated efforts for the good of all.
Our vision right from the beginning has been to creatively build an Interpretive Village, a Cultural Centre and a Heritage Village to serve the North Thompson, contribute to the Regional Tourism and provide a lasting legacy for future generations both locally, nationally and internationally.
The North Thompson Aboriginal Cultural Centre and the future Heritage Village Project will create a hub of economic activity within the North Thompson Valley, benefiting both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, while remaining focused on the importance of the traditions and values of the early years.
We see ‘The Centre’ offering an authentic and extensive range of traditional First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and Pioneers of the North Thompson Valley cultural experiences, including education and activities workshops for the local population, as well as piquing the interest of visitors and tourists alike. Local, national and international visitors will be offered opportunities to experience first-hand cultural ceremonies, sit in at story-telling times, hear of our legends, and participate in craft workshops and hopefully to leave with a greater and deeper appreciation and understanding of not only Aboriginal people but the pioneers and settlers of the North Thompson Valley.
We envision visitors participating in activities such as eating our traditional foods, attending workshops to learn how to make traditional pine needle baskets, native drums, dream catchers and rattles, beading, Métis weaving, Métis jigging and guests would be offered guided interpretive tours. Here we would provide the opportunity to learn about traditional plants and their use for medicines etc. We hope to train our local youth as Guides Instructors and empower them with the intimate knowledge and insight into our customs, history and environmental stewardship.
Aboriginal culture and education would be provided for learners of all ages, from all backgrounds, to showcase important traditional life lessons by offering unique and memorable experiences for every guest and visitor who walks in our door, tours our Interpretive / Heritage village trails while exploring the stunning natural beauty of the North Thompson Valley and Wells Gray Park combined with the extensive indigenous history here. These historically respectful experiences will serve as the foundation to our mission/vision to share, educate, and preserve the legacy of our valley and beyond.
‘The Centre’ will offer an authentic and extensive range of First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and pioneer culture, art, education and activities for all interested in a true Aboriginal and Ecological experience. The Interpretive Village, Cultural Centre, and Heritage Village would be ideally positioned to enhance and create the capacity for increased sustainable cultural tourism opportunities, and would thereby foster economic diversification and stimulus throughout the North Thompson Valley. This can only be strengthened by active participation in the
Tourism Development Plan, allowing us to realize the goal to ensure our First Nations/Aboriginal activities and products are integrated into the Regional Marketing visitor services framework. We have become an associated member of ATBC, - Aboriginal Tourism of BC which is devoted to Authentic Aboriginal Canadian Art in Canada and worldwide.