Calgary’s Past, Present and Future

Take in the traditional art, activities, dances and cultural practices of the Aboriginals.

Making Treaty 7

“We are all Treaty people.” It’s a line you are hearing more and more in Calgary. The city was formed at the confluence of two rivers in the heart of ancient Blackfoot Territory.  The Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society was formed to help people better understand Treaty 7, a document that was signed in 1877.  From a ground breaking theatrical presentation featuring musicians, dancers and poets to the Making Treaty 7 Cultural Festival in 2017, Calgary is exploring and embracing the history and consequences of Treaty 7.



Integrated into Calgary’s colourful history, Aboriginal art and culture has helped develop the city’s unique cultural energy. The First Nations have preserved and promoted the traditions of its people, and Calgary celebrates and honours their contribution in making the city what it is today. In Calgary and across Alberta, visitors can experience and learn about Aboriginal culture in numerous locations, including traveling back in time with Fort Calgary and Heritage Park.

  • Glenbow Museum
  • Tsuu T’ina Museum
  • Indian Village Calgary Stampede Park
  • Nose Creek Valley Museum
  • Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park
  • Heritage Park
  • Fort Calgary
  • Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
  • Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park

Historical Reference

For millennia, warm Chinook winds have traveled over the mountains melting snow and making Southern Alberta the perfect place for natives and the bison they hunted to spend the winter. In Nose Hill Park, you can make an offering to the creator at a Blackfoot medicine wheel while enjoying the spectacular view of the Calgary’s skyline and the Rocky Mountains.  Throughout the massive park, a sacred area and site of First Nation’s ceremonies, tipi rings and rock cairns mark ancient vision quests and campsites.  Across the Bow River in Edworthy Park (named for homesteader Thomas Edworthy), natives would camp and hunt buffalo using the natural plateaus, coulees and steep cliffs.

Stampeding Tradition

Experience the traditions and culture of Treaty 7 at Stampede Park’s Indian Village, the newest green and tranquil space of ENMAX Park along the Elbow River. The Indian Village has been a part of the Stampede tradition since 1912, and continues to be an integral part of the Great Outdoor Show on Earth.

The new Indian Village consists of 26 tipis, set-up in a traditional circle and represent the five nations of Treaty 7: Kainai, Tsuut’ina, Stoney Nakoda, Siksika and Piikani. Each tipi has a unique design on the outside and beadwork, buckskin outfits and artifacts are displayed on the inside.

Activities at the Indian Village:

  • daily dance demonstrations
  • tipi raising competitions
  • cooking demonstrations over an open fire
  • traditional arts and crafts created by Treaty 7 artisans

Stop by the Bannok Booth and grab a bannock picnic that includes a blanket, two drinks, and two bannock meals and enjoy the daily activities.

Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump

About 90 minutes south of Calgary, UNESCO World Heritage Site Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump welcomes visitors all year long. In the summer, a native guide outlines how his Blackfoot ancestors would hunt a few hundred buffalo every fall to get provisions for winter. Over the course of six thousand years, about 100,000 buffalo stampeded over the cliff to their deaths. The stunning Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump Interpretive Centre is built into the landscape and includes a 15-minute film dramatizing the hunt and a number of powerful exhibitions and artifacts.

More Great Story Ideas