Canada's Tentative List

Stein Valley, British Columbia

The Stein Valley cultural landscape is central to the Nlaka’pamux way of life. Pristine and fully protected, the rich environment of this valley has sustained and nurtured the Nlaka’pamux people for millennia—providing many of their traditional foods, medicines, and materials. Most important, the Stein embodies the sacred aspects of Nlaka’pamux life—a place where their people go to gain knowledge and spiritual power. Tangible evidence of this sacred nature lies in the many well-preserved pictographs found on cliffs and boulders along the ancient trail, revealing sacred places where spiritual powers are gained through visions and rituals. A wealth of Nlaka’pamux traditional knowledge, in the forms of creation stories, oral histories, and ethnobotany, are a testament to the intangible attributes that embody the significance of the landscape. Numerous named places tell of long ago events involving transformers and their ancestors, and the valley still resonates with hhA.hha. (sacred powers). The Nlaka’pamux continue to use, maintain, and protect this vital landscape. It remains their most sacred place for teaching their traditions and for gaining spiritual knowledge.

The World Heritage criteria that best support this site are:

  • (iii) The Stein Valley bears exceptional testimony to a living cultural tradition representative of Indigenous land-use in the western North American plateau.
  • (vi) The landscape is tangibly associated with living traditions and beliefs of outstanding universal significance. It is an exceptional example of an Indigenous people’s relationship to a landscape, represented by a wealth of place names, creation stories, and narratives. The Stein is integral to Nlaka’pamux life and resonates with sacred meaning.