Indian Village moves, named Elbow River Camp

CALGARY – The “Indian Village” is on its new site on the Stampede Grounds and the “Elbow River Camp” will continue the legacy of recognizing the importance and contributions of the Treaty 7 families: Kainai, Tsuut’ina, Stoney Nakoda, Siksika and Piikani.‎

The village was a part of the Stampede since its inception 105 years ago as an important meeting place, a place to exchange knowledge, and a powerful expression of culture.

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“I encourage all Canadians to visit the Elbow River Camp to celebrate the resilience and pride of Alberta First Nations, their unique cultures and heritage, and to reflect on their role on our shared journey of reconciliation,” said Federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett.

Tipi Owner and Elder Keith Lefthand starts the opening ceremony of Elbow River Camp. (CS Elbow River Camp photo)

Inspired by history, the Elbow River Camp name reflects the word for ‘the elbow’ in Dene, Blackfoot and Stoney. Tipi owning families that came to Stampede communicated through body language that could be understood across languages, ultimately translating to “meet at the Elbow.” 

Now, as a more than a 100-year-old commitment to celebrating and preserving First Nations traditions and culture, Elbow River Camp, reintroduces itself in 2019 and invites the community to meet at the Elbow, July 5 – 14.

“The name Indian Village was no longer accepted by some people, so it was time for a change,” said Michael Meguinis, Calgary Stampede Tipi Owner, and Tipi Owner representative for the Camp in a prepared statement.

“The name hasn’t bothered me; it has history, it has always been a safe place for our families and our culture.”

Honouring the historic relationship between the Calgary Stampede and the nations of Treaty 7, Elbow River Camp is a special place where families from Treaty 7 nations come together to share and express their cultural heritage and pass along traditions to the next generation.

Included with admission to Stampede Park, guests to Elbow River Camp are invited to indulge in various cultural elements, including seeing the 26 family tipis on display; stage programming, like the pow wow; storytelling; bannock; various First Nations vendors and so much more.

“For more than a century, the Calgary Stampede has been a safe space for families from Treaty 7 nations to come and share their cultures with visitors near and far,” said Shannon Murray, PhD, Indigenous Programming Manager for the Calgary Stampede.

“We are excited to continue that tradition at Elbow River Camp and hope to see you at this year’s Calgary Stampede!”

Updated: July 7 10:45 a.m.

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