Original Owners of Whistler: Lil’wat and Squamish Nations

Developers Planning Whistler’s Future Construction
(Photo: Whistler Museum, copyright. Used with permission)

My project will be focused on how First Nations communities were treated during the inception and construction of Whistler, and how that led to conflicts between the two groups. To investigate this topic, one must understand that the Canadian government held a discriminatory viewpoint towards First Nations communities during the time when Whistler was being built. Laws and acts were implemented to restrict the freedom of First Nations people so that their voices were never heard. Therefore, First Nations communities, especially the Lil’wat and Squamish Nations of the Coast Salish Aboriginal People, who originally lived in Whistler, were never involved in choosing the geographical location of Whistler, but rather it was decided by a group of Vancouver businessmen with the goal of winning the bid for the 1968 Winter Olympics. In other words, the businessmen had no regard for the First Nations communities and the fact that they were the original owners of the land before they were colonized out of their homes. I will explore more about the history of Whistler and its relationship with the First Nations communities over the past 50 years.

Podcast; Music from Whistler Museum Archive Collection, used with permission
Image Showing Lil’wat and Squamish Nations’ Traditional Territories overlapped onto Google Maps of Whistler
Photo: Eric Qian, copyright


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Acknowledgements: I would like to thank Professor Judith Miller for teaching the course about the history of skiing and the Whistler Museum for allowing me to use the image from their archive.

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