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Many Chief Tours makes indigenous history more accessible to Calgarians

Calgarians will have the opportunity to delve deeper into Indigenous culture, thanks to a partnership between the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation and Many Chief Tours.

Many Chief Tours is offering accessible indigenous cultural performances and storytelling at The Rise on St. Patrick’s Island throughout the summer.

“We wanted to do something that … had a diversity of culture, moving beyond Blackfoot culture and sharing that perspective,” said Tarra Many Chief, founder of Many Chief Tours.

The indigenous cultural sharing events include drumming, singing and storytelling from representatives of Stony Nation, Historical Northwest Métis Homeland, Siksika, and the Blood Tribe. 

They meet every Friday, from 6 pm to 8 pm, until August 26. The events go on regardless of the weather.

Jani Red Gun from the Blackfoot tribe showcased Siksikan artifacts and tools used in everyday life, despite the rain.

The July 29 audience, unfazed by the downpour, donned rain shells and popped open umbrellas as Red Gun regaled them with tales, and passed around items around for them to examine.

“Its rained every Friday we’ve done this,” said Many Chief, talking about last Fridays evening’s thunderstorm.

Tour shares significant cultural aspects and locations for Blackfoot people

The tours have been presented in locations significant to the Blackfoot people. 

Many Chief’s desire was to expand on Canada’s history. 

“The common perception is that Canada’s history began when settlement began when explorers [arrived],” she said.

“If you walk around in this area, there’s nothing that tells you that we were here for thousands of years.”

Currently there is a Mohkinstsis tour at St. Patrick’s Island, and Siksikaitsitapi Medicine Wheel tour at Nose Hill Park. 

The Mohkinstsis tour focuses on Blackfoot history prior to contact with settlers up to the signing of Treaty 7, and the changes thereafter.

The Siksikaitsitapi Medicine Wheel tour dials into “the sacred trust”, the prairie landscape, and the traditional uses of flora and fauna. Siksikaitsitapi means living the Blackfoot way of life.

Despite the rain shower, audience members remain seated to learn more about Siksika artifacts at The Rise on St. Patrick’s Island in Calgary on July 29, 2022. INGRID CANUEL / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Future events

Many Chief encourages participants to bring their own blanket and chairs for the event.

People to look out for are Elder Doreen Bergum from Historical Northwest Métis Homeland of Alberta, Region 3 who will share her stories of the Métis people and their connection to the land. Clarence Wolfleg Jr., a performer and hand drummer from the Siksika tribe, will also be presenting.

  • Indigenous Storytelling – Friday, August 12: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
  • Métis Elder Storytelling – Friday, August 19: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
  • Blackfoot Drumming – Friday, August 26: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

To learn more, check out the Many Chief Tours website.