The Shared Territories: Lil’wat Nation and Squamish Nation

Whistler is located on the unceded territories of the Lil’wat Nation and Squamish Nation who have lived on these lands since time immemorial. Living and working in this place, colonially known as Whistler, is a gift that we share with both the Lil̓wat7úl and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh.

We have undertaken the important work of creating the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s territorial statement in collaboration with the Board of Directors of the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC), including Leadership from the Lil’wat Nation and Squamish Nation, to show the municipality’s commitment and gratitude to the Lil̓wat7úl and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh.

We recognize that there are thousands of years of complex systems of governances that have gone into shaping this shared territory. We commit, as a local government only recently in existence within these lands, to a deep consideration of the Lil̓wat7úl and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh’s history, culture, stewardship and voice and how this shapes our work.

There is so much to be done in this space and we look forward to sharing this learning journey with our residents and guests.

National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) has formally recognized September 30 as National Truth and Reconciliation Day. In June 2021, the federal government declared September 30 as a public holiday that applies to all federally regulated public and private employees related to a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

How the Resort Municipality of Whistler is supporting Truth and Reconciliation

The most important action that we can take to support Truth and Reconciliation right now is to listen and learn. The municipality continues to contemplate meaningful ways to learn and acknowledge our colonial past and support Council, staff and the community in their learning journey. 

In partnership with the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, the municipality distributed Truth and Reconciliation toolkits to businesses in an effort to share the importance of the National day of Truth and Reconciliation and the significance of living and working on the Shared Territories.

By October 1, 2021, the majority of full time municipal staff have participated in cultural awareness and sensitivity training.   Going forward, the RMOW will continue to provide training and resources to staff to enable ongoing opportunities for listening, learning, and action on truth and reconciliation. To support further learning, an online resource library for staff has been established.

Related documents

In 2020, the Resort Municipality of Whistler entered into a Framework Agreement with the Lil’wat Nation and Squamish Nation to further build our government-to-government relationship and provide for greater participation in economic and cultural opportunities in Whistler. 

Our commitment to an enduring relationship defined by reconciliation and collaboration is articulated in Whistler’s Official Community Plan and shared community vision.

Whistler Official Community Plan – Chapter 3: Reconciliation with the Lil’wat Nation and Squamish Nation

Learning Resources

Lil’wat Nation: The L̓il̓wat7úl are Ucwalmícw which translates to “the people of the land”, they are 1 of 11 communities that form the Státimc Nation. The territory extends to Rubble Creek, north to Gates Lake, East to Upper Stein Valley and west to the coastal inlets of the Pacific Ocean an area covering 7911.31 square kilometers. There are about 2,500 members of the Lil’wat Nation. They speak Ucwalmícwts which translates to “the language of the land.” They are a mountain community; their territory is similar to what you see in Whistler. Their clothing, food, housing and transportation has adapted to the temperature change found in the mountain ranges. –Courtesy of the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre

Squamish Nation: The Sk̲wx̲wú7mesh Úxumixw, the Squamish People are the descendants of the Coast Salish First Nations People that lived in present day Greater Vancouver, Gibson’s landing and Squamish, BC.  Their territory is 6,732 square kilometers.  There are about 4,000 members of the Squamish Nation. They speak Sk̲wx̲wú7mesh Snichem, the number of fluent speakers is extremely low but they are aggressive in bringing back to their youth.  Their majority of their territory is found along the ocean.  Their clothing, food, housing and transportation has adapted to the temperate rainforest. –Courtesy of the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre

Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre: The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) is the first centre of its kind in Canada. Two nations came together to celebrate and share their cultures with the world while creating meaningful employment opportunities for members of both the Sk̲wxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation, Coast Salish) and Líl̓wat7ul (Lil’wat Nation, Interior Salish) Nations. Designed to evoke the form of a Squamish Longhouse and Lil’wat Istken (earthen dwelling), the SLCC embodies the spirit of partnership between two unique Nations who wish to preserve, grow, and share their traditional cultures. -Courtesy of Tourism Whistler

Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada‘s Calls to Action: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action address the ongoing impact of residential schools on survivors and their families.  They also provide a path for government and Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in British Columbia to create a joint vision of reconciliation. 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES is the third of five videos to be released that showcases Whistler’s unique environment, history, heritage and culture. WHISTLER 101 is a community-led series developed by the Resort Municipality of Whistler in collaboration with the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, the Whistler Museum, the Whistler Naturalists, and Arts Whistler. All five episodes were directed by Leslie Anthony and edited by Mike Douglas and Switchback Entertainment.  Learn more at View the Whistler 101 Indigenous Peoples episode:

Read: Land Acknowledgements in Whistler

Learn: Track progress on the 94 Calls to Action

Listen: The Hon. Murray Sinclair shares his thoughts on reconciliation

Grow:  Learn with Squamish Nation decolonizing leader, Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee

Play:   Download the SLCC “Songs of our Nations” album and play it on September 30th