First Nations Culture

All along the coast, Maple Leaf Adventures travel the traditional lands of Coastal First Nations. As we travel we respect and recognize the traditional territories we are in. 

The Coastal First Nations Of BC & Alaska

The Coastal First Nations are a diverse group of Indigenous peoples who have inhabited the region since time immemorial. They have a deep connection to the land, sea, and all living creatures, and have developed a rich and continuing culture of music, art, and storytelling.

The coast of BC and Alaska is home to many distinct First Nations communities, each with their own unique traditions, histories, and languages. Some of the most well-known First Nations in the region include the Haida, Tlingit, and Kwakwaka’wakw.

The Coastal First Nations are important stewards of the region’s natural resources, working to protect and preserve the coast for future generations.

Remarkable Stories Told By Indigenous Voices

In some areas, coastal guardian watchmen, local First Nations who are caretakers of the land, will meet with us on shore to share about traditional culture and invite us to witness ancient village sites.

On their invitation, we experience weathered and artistic memorial poles, some standing after hundreds of years, others laying on the forest floor returning to the earth. You will step into an ancient world of big houses as you witness corner posts and depressions where homes once stood, with local guides to provide cultural context.

Our trips to Haida Gwaii aboard Cascadia include a Haida crew member, who makes our exploration of Gwaii Haanas so much deeper and richer for their presence.

See Works Of Indigenous Artistry

Totems stand as powerful testaments to the rich cultural heritage of the Indigenous peoples. These towering masterpieces, intricately carved with mythical creatures and ancestral figures, serve as a visual narrative of the communities’ traditions, histories, and spiritual beliefs. They are not merely static sculptures but living expressions of identity and connection to the land and sea.

With their awe-inspiring presence, totems continue to captivate and inspire visitors, serving as a reminder of the enduring legacy and artistic brilliance of the First Nations along the coastal regions.

Indigenous Highlights

The coast of Alaska and BC is a rich tapestry of culture and history. With curiosity and respect, we are invited to explore it.

Ancient Village Sites

Carvings, poles, and traditional big houses still being crafted today show the strength of the people and are inspiring sights to see.

Coastal Landmarks

On certain trips, we will encounter white midden beaches, culturally modified trees, clam “terraces” and ancient petroglyphs.

Powerful Stories

Community members meet with guests to share stories and illuminate the natural world around us. Many trips include Haida crew members, who enrich our experience.

Expeditions That Explore First Nations Culture

Through our local knowledge and that of our Indigenous partners in their territories, guests explore the many layers of human and natural history on the coast.

Explore Natural History

Step into an ancient world of big houses as you witness corner posts and depressions where homes once stood.

Connect With Nature

You’ll explore the famed, rich marine life and rainforests, as well as the First Nations that have called them home since time immemorial.

Learn Rich Traditions

As welcome guests of local village sites, we occasionally have the opportunity to learn cedar weaving or enjoy a traditional indigenous salmon bake.

Travel With Deep Respect

We are committed to supporting Indigenous peoples and their economies. We ensure that as we tour to significant cultural sites we have the appropriate permission to do so.

Our Connections

Our trips explore the traditional, unceded territory of many First Nations. These are just a handful that make our expeditions possible.

Our Operations In First Nations Territories

Our trips explore the traditional, unceded territory of many First Nations, those in the broad language groups of Coast Salish, Kwak’wala, Nuučaan’ut, Oowekyala/’Uik’ala, Nuxalk, Hailhzaqvla, Sm’algyax, Haida and Tlingit. First Nation friends invite us into their communities and territories including: Toba Inlet (Klahoose Nation), Alert Bay (‘Namgis Nation), Kyuquot (Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k:tles7et’h’ Nation), Port Hardy (Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxdaw’xw Nations), W̓áláqvḷa (Heiltsuk Nation), Klemtu (Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nation), Hartley Bay (Gitga’at Nation), Kitamaat (Haisla Nation), the Kitlope (Xenaksiala), Masset and Skidegate (Haida Nation) and communities in Tlingit traditional territory. Our home port is in downtown Victoria, the homelands of the Songhees and Esquimalt People.

We have formalized our common operating principles, and our land/sea acknowledgements, in protocol agreements with the Gitga’at, Kitasoo-Xai’xais and the Heiltsuk nations, and with the Haida through the Archipelago Management Board. We look forward to formalizing more of these respectful relationships and are pleased guests can learn from community members about the cultures that have existed here since time immemorial.

What People Say

See what previous guests have to say about trips exploring culture and natural history of Alaska and BC.

    “From our first inquiries to the final docking, our trip has been first class all the way”

    F. Shirley, Ontario, Canada

    “What a magical and awe-inspiring adventure!”

    Jane Robinson, Vancouver, BC


Itineraries where we are invited to explore First Nations culture.

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