Saamis tepee, photo courtesy of the city of medicine hat
Travel Alberta lists a number of sites where indigenous culture and history can be viewed and experienced first-hand.
For more information, visit www.travelalberta.com.
Photo courtesy of Métis Crossing
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Located about 20 minutes west of Fort MacLeod in southern Alberta, where the plains meet the Rocky Mountain foothills, this site is one of the world’s oldest, largest and best-preserved buffalo jumps.
In 1981, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump as a World Heritage Site, placing it among other world heritage monuments such as the Egyptian pyramids, Stonehenge and the Galapagos Islands.
- Alberta Culture & Tourism and unesco.org
Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park / Áísínai’pi National Historic Site
Located 100 kilometres southeast of Lethbridge, Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park/Áísínai’pi National Historic Site is situated in the valley of the Milk River, which contains the largest concentration of First Nation petroglyphs (rock carvings) and pictographs (rock paintings) on the great plains of North America.
- Alberta Parks and Travel Alberta
Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park
Centred around a stunning new facility that embodies a vast range of Blackfoot culture, this national heritage site is designed to engage visitors in authentic cultural experiences with the Siksika (Blackfoot) people.
Blackfoot Crossing is the site of the signing of Treaty No. 7 between the government and the five tribes of the Blackfoot Confederacy.
The area’s rich history is embodied by monuments to Chief Poundmaker and Treaty Seven, as well as the grave site and last teepee site of Chief Crowfoot.
Bodo Archaeology Site and Centre
Located 35 kilometres south of Provost in east central Alberta, the Bodo Archaeological Site is one of the largest and most well-preserved pre-contact archaeological areas in Western Canada. The full adventure includes a tour of the interpretive centre and the excavation site with an archaeologist, hands-on activities for children and, if time permits, a visit to the Bodo Sand Dunes.
Medicine Hat’s most visible landmark, the Saamis Tepee, was originally constructed for the Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics as a tribute to Canada’s indigenous heritage. It was moved to Medicine Hat in 1991.
A self-guided walking tour provides access to an area that was once a buffalo camp and meat processing site where experts believe more than 83 million artifacts are buried.
- City of Medicine Hat (www.medicinehat.ca)
The first major Métis cultural interpretive centre in Alberta is located about an hour’s drive northeast of Edmonton in Smoky Lake County.
In the historic village, costumed Métis interpreters share the story of life in this community during the latter part of the 1800s. In other areas of the 512-acre site, fiddling, jigging and riding in Red River carts are all part of the experience. Visitors can even roll up their sleeves to make bannock or scrape a hide.
- albertametis.com and www.kalynacountry.com