Xwisten Experience Tours is featured in the Sea to Sky Getaway travel package. Book your trip today to learn about the salmon catch and the traditional ways as Indigenous guides share their history and stories.
Watch salmon leap from the waters and jump over rapids at the confluence of the Fraser and Bridge Rivers, fishing grounds of the St'át'imc people. Explore one of the rebuilt S7ístken pit houses to see how St'át'imc people lived for time immemorial. Bite into a piece of dried salmon jerky.
On an easy one-kilometre walking trail through a spectacular natural setting, members of the Bridge River Band (Xwisten) demonstrate net fishing, and how to cut salmon for wind-drying in the semi-desert climate of Lillooet, 130 kilometres north of Whistler, BC.
“We share with our guests the importance of fish to our people, showing that the traditional practice of preserving salmon for food is still practiced today, as well as telling what has changed. Our fish stocks, for so many reasons, are being threatened,” says Florence Jack, manager of the band-run and owned Xwisten Experience Tours.
“We aim to make people realize we’re still here, that we still practise our culture and it’s not just history. We still teach our kids these practices. Our livelihood depends on this food source.”
Along with lessons on living culture, history is also integral to Xwisten’s summertime tour as it leads to an extensive archaeological village site with over 90 pit house depressions — the remains of traditional winter homes, one of which was excavated by the University of Montana revealing detail of the region’s rich history.
“We employ community members and we encourage our guides to give a little piece of themselves when they meet our guests,” says Jack. “People bond with our guides and have such a memorable experience, they leave wanting to tell others about it."
The tour concludes with barbecued fresh Fraser River salmon for lunch at the Bearfoot Grill, complete with rice, salad, asparagus and bannock. Here, you get to finish up with a delicious traditional dessert of whipped soapberries (sxúsum). Yum.