What does Treaty mean to you?

The dictionary definition is one thing; an agreement or arrangement made by negotiation. But what does it really mean to you on a personal level?

On the 140th anniversary of the signing of Treaty 7, some members of our Stampede family were fortunate to be included in an evening of reflection and conversation at Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society’s Future of Treaty gala dinner.

Held in the beautiful Ross Glen Hall at Mount Royal University, the event featured a fantastic Indigenous menu with foods such as wild fern ravioli, bison steak and bannock-bread pudding. The culinary creations were both beautiful and delicious, and presented in a family style.

But it was the conversation that was served up both before and after the remarkable meal that was the most memorable part of the evening. The evening’s speakers, as well as the guests, were asked to focus on the word Treaty. We were all encouraged to consider the following:

As an individual, consider the Treaty you hold with your ancestors.

Consider the Treaty you hold today, with yourself.

Consider the Treaty you hold with future generations.

When you bring together a diverse collection of people from all facets of our community, these questions spark remarkable, emotional conversation. Community leaders such as chief of the Tsuut’ina Nation, Lee Crowchild, Calgary Stampede board of director, Cindy Provost, and our own president & chairman of the board, David Sibbald, shared reflections on what Treaty means to them on both personal and professional levels. At the individual tables, guests were encouraged to participate in a sharing exercise to consider their own thoughts and perspectives on Treaty.

The goal of the Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society is not just to recognize and explore the historical significance of the events at Blackfoot Crossing back in 1877. It’s also focused on the future. For an evening 140 years in the making, the importance of last Friday’s event is clear. And not just for the relationship between nations of Treaty 7, the city of Calgary and the Calgary Stampede. We each need it for ourselves. As Making Treaty 7 puts it “to consider the future together, how we will move forward, listening to each other’s stories.”

Chief Lee Crowchild