Whistler Community Centre

National Day for Truth and Reconcilation: An open letter to Whistler Businesses

It takes a Village

Leading up to National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, the Resort Municipality of Whistler and Whistler Chamber of Commerce teamed up with the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre to deliver Orange Heart Window decals across the Village and Valley. The package included letters from SLCC Executive Director, Heather Paul, and Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton, and we are pleased to shared them here.

A message to Whistler Businesses from the SLCC

September 25, 2023


Many local businesses have reached out to the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, asking what can be done to commemorate this new ‘holiday’ and I raise my hands to you in thanks for taking the time to consider how to honour this collective journey towards Truth and Reconciliation.

The SLCC has designed a day of programming on September 30 that will honour the survivors of Indian Residential School system, and hold close the spirit of those children who didn’t make it home. Proud Partner CIBC has helped us make September 30 free admission for anyone who wishes to attend the SLCC to listen and learn. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler and the Resort Municipality of Whistler graciously provide support for programming on this important day of commemoration.

As a business, your relationship with National Day of Truth and Reconciliation is a personal one for you to reflect on and decide. If you choose to close, I encourage you to share all the Truth and Reconciliation resources with your staff so they can spend the day creating a deeper understanding of what Truth and Reconciliation means. Like us, many Whistler businesses will remain open on September 30, as we are hosts to guests from around the world. We have been asked how an open business can support not only this day, but what the future of Truth and Reconciliation in tourism might look like. Consider some of your daily proceeds going to charities such as the Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) or donate to the SLCC. The SLCC Ambassadors and the communities from both Nations are directly affected by Indian Residential Schools and generational trauma. Our mission is to share the history and celebrate the original peoples of this land, providing meaningful employment and empowering SLCC Ambassadors as leaders and stewards.

The future starts with listening and learning. It can be as simple as front line staff recognizing the significance of the character ‘7’ in a person’s name, knowing a Chief’s name as well as they know the Mayor, or translating our collective connection to this land into a reverence for the original people and stewards whose ancestors are buried in the Douglas Firs we weave between in joyful recreation or soulful reflection.

As the sun goes down on September 30, please ask yourself, “what will I do next?”. Read, research, and learn. Reflect, honour and grow. Take action in your community, and with your family and friends. Speak up in reverence for the Lil’wat and the Squamish people for their resilience and for sharing their presence here in Whistler, and the culture they share through the SLCC. Expand the Whistler experience for your staff and book a cultural day at the SLCC. We offer lots of possibilities for engagement and connection: tours, song, drum making workshops, Indigenous inspired lunches, and other programming, or browse our book selection in the gift shop. Consider the SLCC for a guided tour a part of your staff onboarding each season, and for formal and informal gatherings, coffee, lunch, meetings and events.

We invite you to experience the SLCC as part of your learning journey, and action in reconciliation. Please be gentle in your journey, for many of the Ambassadors these stories are of their lost auntie, uncle or friend who never came home, and may be too fragile to surface. Whether you visit us on September 30th, or choose to come another day, you will be welcomed with love, ancient stories, and youthful voices.

Huy Chexw (thank you) Wa Chexw Yuu (take care)– Squamish Language
Kukw`stumc`kalap (Thank-you all) – Lil’wat Language,

Heather Paul

Executive Director

Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler, BC

Heather.paul@slcc.ca   www.slcc.ca/ndtr 

A message from Mayor Jack Crompton to Whistler businesses

To our valued business partners,

As Mayor of Whistler, I am pleased to share this Business Tool Kit for the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, in partnership with the Whistler Chamber of Commerce.

I am proud to live and work in the territories of the Lil’wat Nation and Squamish Nation. 

We believe one of the most important actions we can take to support Truth and Reconciliation 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. 

Now is the time to stand with Indigenous Peoples and to acknowledge the trauma that colonialism and residential schools has caused. This acknowledgment of our shared history is an important first step in advancing reconciliation locally and nationally. 

For the past three years, we have recognized National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, inviting Whistler businesses to join the Resort Municipality of Whistler in showing our solidarity and support for those impacted by the injustices of the colonial systems and the residential school system.

Enclosed you will find an orange heart decal to be displayed on your business door or front window. As Truth and Reconciliation is a commitment to ongoing listening and learning, we encourage you to permanently display this decal year-round as a beacon of hope, and a reminder that this learning journey continues.

Along with the display of the decal, we recommend setting aside a portion of an upcoming staff meeting to review the Frequently Asked Questions created by the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre and to watch one or more of the videos. 

We strongly encourage you and your employees to include a visit to the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre for an immersive cultural experience and to learn more about the Shared Territories of the Lil’wat Nation and Squamish Nation.  We also recommend visiting www.slcc.ca/ndtr for additional resources.

We look forward to sharing more opportunities for learning, listening and action in support of Truth and Reconciliation.

Best regards

Mayor Jack Crompton


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