Leslie McGarry is a member of the Kwagiulth First Nation, one of several bands within the Kwakwaka’ wakw Territory, located on the northeast part of Vancouver Island.
Leslie represents the fifth generation of her family to work in the field of Cultural Awareness, a legacy that began with her Great-Great Grandfather, George Hunt, who worked with the Anthropologist, Franz Boaz to record the cultural heritage and practices of the Kwakwaka’wakw People. Leslie is also a Great Granddaughter of the late Chief Mungo Martin and the eldest Granddaughter of the late, Chief Henry Hunt, both of whom were internationally renowned artists as well as Master Carvers for the Royal BC Museum’s totem pole restoration project. The Royal BC Museum is also home to a replica of a Cedar Big House belonging to Chief Jonathan Hunt, Leslie’s paternal Great Grandfather. Leslie’s Grandmother, the late Helen Hunt was a founding member of the Board of Directors for the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, where Leslie was employed for twenty-six years.
With this inspirational legacy as a guiding force, and working with many community partners, Leslie provides opportunities to enhance and/or develop awareness and appreciation for the cultural diversity within Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples. In her capacity as a First Nation Cultural Liaison, Leslie relays information that reflects a First Nations perspective from pre-contact to post-contact history with cultural authenticity and integrity.
From developing school programs in cooperation with the Royal British Columbia Museum to providing cultural support for the BC Legislative Assembly’s Parliamentary Education Office, Leslie provides a cultural component derived from the stories, legends, values and traditions that have been passed down through her family for countless generations.
Drawing on her own family history and cultural background, Leslie offers guided tours of the Royal BC Museum’s First Peoples Gallery, providing her audience with a First Nations perspective that serves to enhance the visitor’s experience of the exhibits. Leslie relays information that compliments the gallery, while offering her audience a personal glimpse into the cultural histories of BC’s First Nations.