Lil’wat Cultural Sites
S7istken (pronounced “ishkin”) are underground houses that some First Nations used in the winter time. The entire community would work together to build an S7istken. They dug a shallow pit, and built a pyramid structure above it, about 2.5 to 3 metres in height, 5 to 15 meters in diameter. The chimney hole was the entrance, up to 2 metres wide, with a ladder and a fire pit below.
The Lil’wat Nation had many S7istken villages throughout the Pemberton area and all of its Traditional Territory.
One such site is located on the southeast side of Signal Hill, facing the Green River. The Lil’wat Nation and SLRD co-manage the site. It was once the village of the Wolf Clan of Lil’wat Nation.
As a designated heritage site, any alteration or damage to the site is prohibited. However, visitors are welcome to view the s7istkens. There are four on-site, and they are unique in that they are square, rather than the traditional round shape.
Additional Cultural Sites
There are many cultural sites throughout the regional district. Please do not harm or alter a known cultural site in any way, and contact the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District if you find a cultural artifact.
For those planning to visit the Lillooet area, Xwisten Experience Tours operated by the Bridge River Band of the St’át’imc Nation offers a tour through traditional fishing grounds and an archaeological site featuring more than 80 identified S7istkens as well as a replica S7istken. Tours run June through September. The Cayoose Creek band (Sekw'el'wás), also of the St'át'imc Nation, offers eco-cultural tours in the Lillooet area during the summer months as well.
For those planning to visit Whistler, The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre embodies the spirit of partnership between two unique Nations wishing to preserve, grow and share their traditional cultures. The Cultural Centre showcases the art, history and culture of both the Squamish and the Lil’wat peoples. Guests can tour through the gallery, try on regalia, make a traditional craft, or learn a traditional dance.