Honouring National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21, 2019
As we move into the busiest time of year in the Bow Valley, I find strength in recalling how Indigenous peoples have been welcoming others to this valley to meet in peace. This has been our way for thousands of years.
"Whether we are indigenous or newcomer, today our tipis are held down by the same peg. Neither is going anywhere. The knowledge and the will needed to protect and save these places no longer belongs to one people or one tradition." - Cynthia M. Chambers and Narcisse J. Blood, 2010.
Origin of National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada
Did you know that National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21st, was started as a prayer day initiated by Stoney Nakoda Elders in 1971?
The Snow family from Stoney Nakoda and others hosted an interfaith gathering in 1971. Among the initiatives from that gathering was what we now call National Indigenous Peoples Day. (ref., The Centre for Indigenous Scholars, Sault Ste. Marie, ON. https://www.ciscentral.com/history1.htm)
Here in Banff, there are many events to celebrate Indigenous culture through the Banff Centre & the Buffalo Nations Luxton Musem, & the Town of Canmore.
What's a kiguli? Canada's first protected archaeological site
Do you know where Canada's first protected archaeological site, protected in 1913 in Banff, lies hidden?
To me, this site speaks to our ethos of hospitality. Why?
Each of these individuals have fascinating family histories and a willingness to cooperate on bringing the story of kiguli pithouses back to life in our national park.
Left to right:
Elder Roy Louis, Maskwacis. Roy is a direct descendant of Mountain Cree guide Peechee who, in 1832, came from his home at the other end of Lake Minnewanka (once called Lake Peechee), through this valley leading leading the fur trader Sir George Simpson over the buffalo-salmon pass (now called Simpson Pass) to the Columbia River. Roy is a past-president of the Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum.
Elder Xavier Eugene, Kinbasket Secwepemc ( Shuswap), whose family have traveled through these mountains for hundreds of years. They used the fixed dwelling structures called kiguli (or kekuli, or kikwilie) pithouses as winter homes. These were used for four thousand years. The same home with the same timbers was used for up to one thousand years. This is most enduring form of architecture in Canada. In 1913 Canada's first Dominion Archaeologist Harlan Smith protected the complex of 14 pithouses along the Bow River downstream of Bow Falls as our first nationally protected archaeological site.
Elder Louis Thomas is a Neskonlith Councillor and radio announcer out of Salmon Arm. He builds these kiguli pithouse dwellings. His mother, the living national treasure Mary Thomas built one of these kigulis on the Washington Mall in 1978 during the Festival of American Folklife.
Dan Nolin, Superintendent of the Banff Springs Golf Course, lives with his family on the grounds. Dan showed us a spot adjacent to the leasehold where two of us identified what might well be an untouched Indigenous archaeological site. He is keen to know more and be part of a conversation on what we might do to recognize this part of Banff's heritage.
Request for research assistance.
I am looking to collaborate with an experienced academic historian to better understand the history of this Banff archaeological dwelling site, its recognition and demise. Feel welcome to contact me if you are interested or might recommend someone.
Welcome to the Powwow this Saturday, June 22, 2019
Do you know you are welcome to volunteer, attend and join in the dancing at Elder Tom Crane Bear's Iiniskim Powwow? This Saturday June 22, 12 - 10 pm, Fenlands Recreation Centre. http://www.buffalonationsmuseum.com/content/events
Powwows are for families and for connecting across cultures. Here's a CBC website with helpful tips for attending a powwow.
Here's a 44 sec video from Banff Lake Louise Tourism about the Iiniskim Powwow.
Win a Prize!
If you’ve read this far, you deserve a reward.
To qualify for one of thirteen prizes, please send me a note by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and answer correctly the two questions on this week's newspaper ad that directs readers to this blog, i.e.,
1. Do you know any of the persons in the photo, above, on the Golf Course.
2. Do you know where Canada's first protected archaeological site lies hidden in the Banff vicinity?.
I'd be pleased to hear from you about any of these matters.