‘Sacred Journey’ video series celebrates the resurgence of the Indigenous canoe


Ottawa, ON, June 21, 2018—A new online video project underlines the remarkable resurgence of the ocean-going canoe, and reminds us of the importance of understanding the ocean through the lens of this ancient technology.

Glwa - the ocean going canoe, a series of 13 short videos, was developed by the Heiltsuk Tribal Council – a First Nations government living on the central coast region of British Columbia – in partnership with Ingenium – Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The videos showcase the widespread impact of the canoe and the revival of its practice with maritime Indigenous culture today, examining its early history and its resurgence over the last three decades through annual tribal canoe journeys.

The video series is the second in a series of Sacred Journey projects, following the release of Glwa – The Documentary last year, which was produced in partnership with the University of Winnipeg.  Both projects will contribute to the Sacred Journey travelling exhibition, currently in development in partnership with Ingenium, sharing stories about the resurgence of the ocean-going canoe.

An essential tool for sustenance, transport, and the development of social and ceremonial life amongst the Heiltsuk Nation and other Indigenous Peoples, the ocean-going canoe has remained a symbol of resilience and revitalization for Indigenous communities. Despite massive societal changes that have impacted Indigenous groups, the canoe has remained an important teacher and cornerstone for revitalization of cultural practices and language – along with the ancestral teachings and laws that empower and support them.

As stewards of ocean knowledge, the Heiltsuk Nation is proud to share how their long-standing experience with the canoe that has been essential for the development of a thriving culture that lived in mutual co-existence with the natural environment. By showcasing the history and culture of the Heiltsuk maritime First Nation who have lived within the west-coast territory for at least 14,000 years, the Sacred Journeys video series underlines the importance of this ancient technology, which has the potential to enhance our universal understanding of the ocean.

Glwa – The Documentary

“Our Government is committed to working with Indigenous partners in a spirit of respect and reconciliation. We are proud to support this one-of-a-kind project, which will enable Canadians to understand the history, rich culture and traditional practices of the Heiltsuk Indigenous People."
~ The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“We are happy to work with Ingenium and Fisheries and Oceans Canada to educate the Canadian public about our history and heritage. Reconciliation can only work on the basis of understanding, and that is what Sacred Journeys does. We hope to contribute to Canadian society through ancient wisdom and the life-changing experiences that our youth are gaining through our traditional canoe culture.”
~ Marilyn Slett, Chief Councillor of the Heiltsuk Nation

“We are honoured to be part of this important cultural project, which celebrates Indigenous ingenuity and fosters knowledge and understanding of ocean literacy with the help of the Heiltsuk Nation and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. We look forward to continuing our work with the Heiltsuk Nation to share their stories of adaptability and resilience with the world.”
~ Christina Tessier, President and CEO, Ingenium - Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation


Ingenium - Canada's Museums of Science and Innovation
Christine Clouthier

Sacred Journeys
Frank Brown
SeeQuest Development

About Ingenium – Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation
Launched in June 2017, Ingenium is a new national brand established to preserve and share Canada’s story of scientific and technological heritage. This corporate brand, which celebrates ingenuity, encompasses three national institutions—the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, and the Canada Science and Technology Museum. Under the Ingenium brand, these three museums are places where the past meets the future, with spaces where visitors can learn and explore, play and discover. Ingenium also has an eye to the future with a state-of-the-art Collections Conservation Centre under construction, digital and social media platforms, and travelling national and international exhibitions to educate, entertain and engage audiences across Canada and around the world.

About Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is the federal lead for managing Canada's fisheries, its oceans and freshwater resources, and safeguarding its waters. We support economic growth in the marine and fisheries sectors, innovation through research in areas such as aquaculture and biotechnology, and a healthy and sustainable aquatic ecosystem for Canadians through habitat protection and sound science.