- Quw'utsun' Cultural Centre (Duncan; tel. 877/746-8119): North of Victoria, this facility contains a theater, carving shed, ceremonial clan house, restaurant, and art gallery, all dedicated to preserving traditional Cowichan history and culture. Try to visit when the tribe is preparing a traditional salmon bake.
- Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre (formerly the Kwakiutl Museum and Cultural Center, Quadra Island; tel. 250/285-3733): To the Native peoples along the Northwest coast, the potlatch was one of the most important ceremonies, involving the reenactment of clan myths and ritual gift giving. When Canadian officials banned the potlatch in the 1920s, the centuries-old costumes, masks, and artifacts of the Kwagiulth tribe were confiscated and sent to museums in eastern Canada and England. When the items were repatriated in the early 1990s, the tribe built this handsome museum to showcase this incredible collection of Native art.
- Alert Bay (off Vancouver Island): One of the best-preserved and still vibrant Native villages in western Canada, Alert Bay is a short ferry ride from northern Vancouver Island. Totem poles face the waters, and cedar-pole longhouses are painted with traditional images and symbols. The U'Mista Cultural Centre (tel. 250/974-5403) contains a collection of carved masks, baskets, and potlatch ceremonial objects.
- Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve (Queen Charlotte Islands): A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Canadian national park, this is the ancient homeland of the Haida people. Located on the storm-lashed Queen Charlottes, it isn't easy or cheap to get to: You'll need to kayak, sail, or fly in on a floatplane. But once here, you'll get to visit the prehistoric village of Ninstints, abandoned hundreds of years ago and still shadowed by decaying totem poles.
- 'Ksan Historical Village (Hazelton; tel. 877/842-5518): The Gitxsan people have lived for millennia at the confluence of the Skeena and Bulkley rivers, hunting and spearing salmon from the waters. On the site of an ancient village near present-day Hazelton, the Gitxsan have built a pre-Contact replica village, complete with longhouses and totem poles. No ordinary tourist gimmick, the village houses a 4-year carving school, Native-art gift shop, traditional-dance performance space, artists' studios, restaurant, and visitor center.
- Secwepemc Museum & Heritage Park (Kamloops; tel. 250/828-9801): This heritage preserve contains a Native Secwepemc village archaeological site from 2,400 years ago, plus re-creations of village structures from five different eras. It's not all just history here: The Shuswap, as the Secwepemc are now called, also perform traditional songs and dances and sell art objects.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.