The Story of Talaysay – A Tour to Remember
Talaysay Tours is a cultural and eco tour company owned by a First Nations family who resides on the Sunshine Coast and in Vancouver. It is our goal and inspiration to provide authentic cultural and eco experiences. We strive to provide our guests, a fun, educational and inspirational experience learning about First Nations history, lore, legends and ways of living. We enjoy sharing our tours, events and educational programs with visitors throughout the world and North America. During the school year we work extensively with the schools educating teachers and students in aboriginal knowledge and ways of living, outdoor education: canoeing, kayaking, hiking, snowshoeing, hiking, nature walks, Coast Salish art.
The Shíshálh people are a member of the Coast Salish alliance, a collective of tribes within Southern BC who share cultural-linguistic connections and more importantly social, cultural and political ties that have existed for hundred of years. As a result of the long standing relationships between Coast Salish tribes, it was common for people, including the shíshálh, to speak 3-5 Coast Salish dialects. Within the Shíshálh tribe, there are 4 main clans: wolf, grizzly bear, killer whale and the frog clan. Today, the clan organizations are still practiced and a part-of Shíshálh (Sechelt) peoples’ social and cultural identity. Jon and Candy, who follow a matriarchal system, are members of the Wolf Clan, in xenichen (Queens Reach at the head of the inlet) through their grandmother and are very proud to identify with their grandfather’s clan muyuk (grizzly bear) of tsunay (Deserted Bay). It is our cultural protocol to state mes shishalh, ?ala xenichen ?iy ?ala tsunay. We are shishalh people of the wolf and grizzly bear clan and it is our honor to invite you to our territories to explore outdoor adventure, culture and eco experiences. Love the land and water.
Larry and Talaysay are very proud members of the Squamish people. The Squamish people have resided throughout the Squamish valley, Vancouver and present day North Vancouver. A generous kind people, the Squamish tribe represent and consist of 16 main families. Today the Squamish have 4000+ members and have the highest educated people per capita with the acquisition of university degrees, language and cultural revitalization. Stanley Park, a ancient village of the Squamish people, is where we do our Talking Trees & Spoken Treasures tours.
Candace, ancestral name xets’emits’a (to always be there), started her company in 2002. Trained as an anthropologist and school teacher, sharing outdoor education and culture was a dream made possible by growing up on the land and being taught the stories and history of her people by her parents and elders in the community. Candace is a head kayak guide, storyteller and educator-facilitator. During the school season, Candace enjoys working with both educators and students teaching First Nations history, ecology, kayaking, canoeing, cultural protocols, art.
Deanna Lewis, kalkalalth (Wild Women of the Mountains)
Deanna Lewis has been our longest standing guide for team Talaysay. Deanna, a Squamish Nation community member, is a highly trained kayak, canoe and river rafting guide. A mother of three children, Deanna enjoys sports, coaching, weaving and teaching her language and culture throughout Squamish and the lower mainland.
Deanna guides and provides workshops for Talaysay in the summer season and on weekends when she is not teaching in the public schools.
Larry is a member of the Squamish Nation, was born and raised in North Vancouver and grew up spending his summers in beautiful Egmont, BC on the Sunshine Coast.
In the summer period when things get crazy busy, Larry will support the summer youth and cultural camps, assist with the paddle centre in Porpoise Bay in Sechelt and in Vanier Park, Vancouver.
Larry’s unwavering support has been vital to the success of Talaysay Tours– his wife Candace’s dream. Larry and Candace have been happily married for 18 years and have two children Elias and Talaysay. The family lives in West Vancouver most of the year and have a home in Egmont, BC.
Jonathan, ancestral name Tecumseh, is a guide and boat operator for Talaysay on the multiday tours. Jon, with his sister Candy have been guiding for over 13 years and have the deepest love and appreciation for their parents, who raised their children off the land and sea.
Yes, love the land and water is the mantra and providing authentic cultural and eco experiences is the mission. It is the goal and ambition of Jonathan to introduce all of our guests, friends and family to the beauty and wonder of nature here in British Columbia.
Erika Vader, ancestral name tsatsiloet, was born and raised in Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast. Proud of her Shíshálh(Sechelt), Tsimshian First Nations and Dutch ancestry, a descent of Chieftainship, Erika is a fantastic cultural ambassador, guide and teacher.
Erika has been with Talaysay Tours for six seasons and is a lead kayak guide for all of our day and multi-day kayak and canoe tours on the Sunshine Coast – Princess Louisa, Indian Arm – Deep Cove, Clayoquot Sound and the Broken Islands. A outdoor feat shared by a select few, Erika has paddled from Campbell River to Bella Coola via the kuxulh (Squamish Canoe) and has extensive paddle experience and outdoor survival skills to share. Erika works closely with Candace during the school year teaching outdoor education, the Aboriginal ways of knowing curriculum, first nations forest ecology, via the Talking Trees Tour, weaving and art. Not to mention, a foodie at heart, Erika is an awesome camp cook. She’s humble but we are proud. She’s the youngest and the wisest.
Andy, an experienced outdoor cultural guide for the Talaysay Family is also a well known and respected cultural ambassador for the shíshálh people. Andy has paddled up and down the Northwest Coast on many journeys via the traditional Northwest Coast Canoe and kayak and is extremely well versed in the Jervis Inlet, Princess Louisa, Sechelt, Salmon and Narrows Inlets. Andy is an experienced canoe skipper and kayak guide, drummer and singer.
Ecko’s ancestral name is Kawaya. Born into the nlaka’pamux nation and adopted by the shíshálh nation, Ecko comes from the Interior Salish Grizzly Bear Clan. Her role within the company is diverse – be it Management, Talking Trees cultural guide, kayak guide, workshop facilitator, artist and music instructor. Ecko has a passion for youth and education and works closely with her father Terry Aleck, Coyote, who together provide residential school presentations and workshops to students and educators. Ecko has recently completed her degree in Sound Technology at the Art Institute of Vancouver. Passionate about all aspects of music she hopes to combine her love for the outdoors with her passion for art and culture. Ecko is the proud parent of her son Luka.
Melanie Cloutier is a head guide, canoe and kayak instructor. Melanie is our French-Canadian sister, born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada. She teaches us her native language – French Canadian and we teach her she shashishalhem (the Sechelt language). Mel has worked with the company for over 5 years and is a big part of the Talaysay family.
Robert Higgins, the grandson of respected Elder Barbara Higgins, whose ancestral name is mus swiya ( four directions, four seasons), is a shíshálh member of the tewankw – frog clan.
He is one of our youngest yet most respected guides. Robert has the quietest demeanor but is greatly appreciated for his team work and impeccable work ethic. Robert is renowned throughout the Coast for his composition of traditional Coast Salish and West Coast songs. We try to take him on every trip as his presence, his drum and golden voice enhances our cultural experience.