Finding Friday – Canadian West Beginnings

History in the Canadian West.

As a child I found the natives with their nomadic lives spoke to me clearly as a life of true freedom.  I realized when I got older that they too, followed rules, but it never seemed to be so many as we have now.  I grew up on a farm surrounded by four reservations in Northern Saskatchewan.  I went to school with, played with and had native friends.  I often feel that if we had integrated instead of making reservations Canada wouldn’t be having the problems they are now.  But that’s my opinion and it’s too late to change the past anyway.

Fort MacLeod - Buffalo

The Cree were the largest groups and occupied most of Saskatchewan and northern Alberta.  Like all other nomadic tribes, they roamed around, following buffalo herds.  In southern Alberta were a group of tribes – which we called the Blackfoot Confederacy.  They were the Niitsítapi (meaning “original people”).  Knowing no borders they roamed and ruled the area of southern Alberta and a large portion of Montana.

For a better understanding of lives long ago on the plains, I suggest visiting Head-Smashed-in Buffalo Jump in southern Alberta.  It is an extensive, great interpretation of Native living and culture.

Today, Waterton/Glacier Park covers part of Montana and part of Alberta.  In 1932, the United States and Canada joined together to create the world’s first International Peace Park: Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.  Besides being proud of our two countries that created this, does anyone know of the influence the Blackfoot Confederacy had in its’ creation?

Fort MacLeod - Indian Head Dress  


4 thoughts on “Finding Friday – Canadian West Beginnings

  1. I just looked up buffalo in Calgary (all sports teams came up 🙂 ) because I remembered that there were next to none at some point. I was really pleased to find that once again they are roaming in the wild.
    Integration would likely have taken care of some problems, I agree, but it could also have surfaced more. We will never know, as you say.

    • It’s just something I was contemplating about that integration. I know there are problems with the idea – but as we advance it would be less and less. Most people don’t make a big deal of marriages – so why anything else?
      I grew up around four reservations – went to school with natives and whites – and I really didn’t know the difference – until I went out into the big/bad world. There was good and there was bad on both sides. Yes – Alberta has a park up north that has loads and loads of buffalo. If you go to Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump – you can get buffalo burgers and they are delicious. Some people raise beefalo – which is a combination of buffalo and beef.

    • Oh you should go to both. There is a Prince (something or other hotel) with wonderful food in Waterton – and the views!! And I used to take my boys to Head Smashed in – and they loved it. Especially my younger son – who took native dancing in school and was told by the instructor (Melting Tallow) that he was like an eagle bound – then like an eagle flying… which I thought was so poetic and full of meaning.

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