Ever wondered what life was like in the Fraser Canyon 200 year ago?
If you want to experience it, you should plan to visit the Tuckkwiowhum Heritage Interpretive Village in Boston Bar.
“Tuckkwiowhum means good berry picking place in the Nlaka’pamux language,” explained Crystal Kimber, administrative assistant with Boston Bar First Nation.
The village is built on the original site of an Aboriginal settlement that has been there for thousands of years.
“As far as history goes, the white man only really showed up here 200 years ago. So who knows how long people have been living there, but we have archeological evidence that there has been habitation there for at least 5,000 years,” said Kimber.
And stories go back event farther than that.
What organizers have done is recreate a small version of what a village would have looked like about 200 years ago, just prior to contact with white settlers.
Officially opened three years ago, the village has taken time to establish itself and determine what the target audience would be. School trips have proven popular, as have visits from local dignitaries and residents. Now that the word has spread, visitors from overseas are coming to the site.
“It seems that Europeans are extremely interested in having an authentic adventure. They don’t want it packaged in this shiny package. They want something where they can get their hands dirty, they want to see the actual sights and the actual ruins,” said Kimber.
Guided tours are provided on the site, or people can choose to walk on their on.
Traditional story-telling sessions are available as well as history lesson of the Fraser Canyon and the Nlaka’pamux people.
The location contains several summer lodges, a summer and winter food cache, two different earth ovens (one for fish oil extraction and one for roasting vegetables), a garden (called a sacred glade) which includes recreated pictographs.
“Generally they are located up in really hard to reach, inaccessible places, the pictographs, so we’ve recreated them on the village site so people can see what they look like.”
They also have a sweat lodge. All of the displays are in working condition.
Kimber said this is the first year that the village has been heavily marketed and expects to attract more visitors next season. The site closes on Oct. 31 and reopens on May 1, 2013. They have just completed a museum, gift shop and longhouse in preparation for next season.
The site is open seven days a week for walking tours. However guided tours are only available by booking ahead of time.
For more information on the site you can call 604867-8844 or visit www.tuckkwiowhum.com.