This week brings a new opportunity for Calgarians to connect with southern Alberta’s rich Indigenous culture.
It’s a chance for people to learn about the past and to make healing connections for the future.
It comes in the form of a series of weekly events at St. Patrick’s Island.
The free events will feature Indigenous knowledge-keepers sharing traditional stories, as well as drumming and singing.
Among those leading the gatherings is Clarence Wolf Leg Jr., a member of the Siksika Nation.
“I’m a Blackfoot powwow singer — I’ve been doing this for about 30 years,” Wolf Leg Jr. said. “I’m just creating some positive energy.”
The events are being organized by Tarra Wright-Many Chief, whose company Many Chief Tours offers Indigenous-themed walking tours of St. Patrick’s Island.
Wright-Many Chief says, the purpose of free events is “to teach people about the history of the Blackfoot people and our connection to this area.”
St. Patrick’s Island is in the Bow River, directly across from the place the Elbow River flows into it.
“[It is] close to the confluence of the two rivers, which is a sacred site for the Blackfoot people — people would come here to do ceremonies,” Wright-Many Chief said. “And so it makes sense for us to come here and start creating space for Indigenous stories and knowledge to be shared — where it was traditionally shared thousands of years ago.”
Everyone is invited to attend the events, which run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on six consecutive Fridays from July 22 to August 26.
“We’ll be providing some good vibes, and that’s what the powwow songs are meant for,” Wolf Leg Jr. said. “They’re meant to heal and to break down barriers, to help complete this reconciliation that we’re all going through.”
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