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Xwísten Experience Tours

Traditional Fishing Rock & Archaeological Village Tours

Available June—September

Xwísten Experience Tours History

In 2004, Bridge River Indian Band began a tour business called Xwísten Experience Tours and a concession stand called Bearfoot Grill at the confluence of the Fraser River and Bridge River located on Bridge River Indian Reserve#1. Both businesses continue to be 100% owned and operated by Bridge River Indian Band.

In the first year of operation there were only two employees and a small shack with BBQ equipment. In 2006 a new concession stand was built with full kitchen facilities, covered concrete seating area, and picnic tables and 4 employees were hired for the summer. In 2010 we open the season with new prominent road and information signage, a new tour demonstration area with platform seating, outdoor toilets, a replica pithouse (s7istken), and a viewing platform, and employed six aboriginal employees from the Bridge River Community employed from June to September.

Xwísten Experience Tours highlights two historically significant sites to the Xwísten (Bridge River) people, our fishing grounds still used by the St'at'imc people today to harvest salmon, and the archaeological village site which contains over 80 depressions and was inhabited as recent as 200 years ago.

The Tour of the fishing grounds allows us to teach visitors about our rich culture and history, and highlight the importance of fish to our people. It allows us to show that the practice of preserving salmon for food and trade is still practiced today as our ancestors did, as well as show what has changed. In the recent years we have also shared how the decline in the number of fish has been detrimental to our people.

The University of Montana has been studying the archaeological village site since 2003 and has provided us with a lot of information on the history of the site and its importance to our people. The Tour allows us to share this information with not only the tourists who take our tour but also with our own people (through community tours, classroom visits, and stories). In 2012 they began their first full excavation of an entire pithouse site.

This is a community business and thus we strive to employ our own community members each season and in all our construction projects. For example, the S7istken (pithouse) project in Winter 2009 employed two elders, two adults, and two youth so the elders could teach the younger generations how to construct the S7istken. Now that the University of Montana has begun excavation on a pithouse site, we have employed two community members to work alongside them as they learn our rich history.

 

 

 

Archaealogical Village

Archaeological Village Site

Archealogical Village

2010 Cultural Authenticity Award from Aboriginal Tourism BC

Authentic Aboriginal

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