In 1912, Guy Weadick made a deal with the federal government to let First Nations people camp at the Stampede, practice their traditions and speak their language. At the time, they were not legally allowed to leave the reservation or practice their cultures (this was true through the 1950’s).
This year, Indian Village moves to ENMAX Park. ENMAX Park is situated on traditional Blackfoot land, at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers. As Mayor Nenshi said, “For thousands of years, people have lived, hunted, fished, met, and traded here. People have fought and loved—held fast to dreams and felt bitter disappointment.”
And today, Indian Village celebrated their opening ceremonies. The Elders brought the ashes from the fire last burned at the previouslocation, lit sweetgrass and said a prayer–to symbolize a fire that would never go out.
They spoke of how their families had been coming to Indian Village at Stampede for many generations. That they hoped their grandchildren would be standing there in the decades to come.
“This place is not just about celebration,” one of them said. “It’s about learning and understanding.”
Tyrone Sitting Eagle performed a hoop dance. The hoop dance was traditionally part of a young man’s warrior training. The hoops are used to portray the animals a warrior might encounter, such as an eagle, a snake or a bear.
The chicken dance is one of the oldest dances. It mimics the morning mating ritual of prairie chickens.
We hope that you get a chance to visit Indian Village in its new location–it’s truly a special place. It’s peaceful and beautiful. We hope you get a chance to learn and reflect.
The Blackfoot greeting translates to “Greetings to all my relations.” And Mayor Nenshi pointed out that “In a community we are all interconnected. Today is about coming together as a community–and that is what we do best in this community.”