MP Report – A Step Into Indigenous History

A Step into Indigenous History

June is National Indigenous History Month and an excellent time to reflect on the history of Indigenous peoples.  While I encourage you to use the many resources available online to explore this topic, participating in one of the Indigenous events in the Calgary area is an opportunity not to be missed.

For Calgarians, it is July that provides a substantial additional opportunity to learn more about Indigenous culture in Alberta. The Elbow River Camp, a part of the Calgary Stampede, is an immersive cultural experience that runs from July 8th-17th.  I have many fond memories of my time as the Alberta Aboriginal Relations Minister when I had the privilege of participating in many of these events.

The Camp consists of 26 tipis and represents the cultures of the Treaty 7 Nations: the Siksika, Piikani, Kainai, Tsuut’ina and Stoney Nakoda First Nations. Local artisans sell jewelery, art, and traditional food. There are also many activities throughout the event, including a powwow competition, flag raising, a meat cutting competition, and days devoted to each of the First Nations represented at the camp.

The camps also boast opportunities to learn more about the cultures and traditions of Treaty 7 Nations to be shared in guided tours with proud members of these Nations. These tours include a breadth of information such as the significance of the painted tipis and the skills required to produce many of the traditional items throughout the Camp. The interpreters will also demonstrate traditional outdoor cooking as they make dried meat, tea, Saskatoonberry soup, and bannock.

These interactive experiences are excellent teachers for people of all ages. From sampling traditional food to learning hand-games, there is no better way to learn about the diverse cultures of the Treaty 7 Nations.

Indigenous communities are one of Canada’s three foundational groups, and their history and cultural contributions are valuable for understanding Canada today. I encourage you to make the Elbow River Camp a stop on your summer itinerary!