Blackfoot Experience focuses on rich cultural traditions

·2 min read

Fort Whoop-Up held an event Wednesday morning aiming to share knowledge and awareness about the Niitsitapi Blackfoot culture through activities and stories taught by local Indigenous interpreters.

The Blackfoot Experience looks at the culture and history of the Blackfoot people in southern Alberta, working with elders and knowledge keepers to come and present to audiences spreading awareness and helping showcase what Blackfoot culture is.

Abbilynn Thom, Fort Coordinator, says the event looks to spread mindfulness.

“We don’t want the Fort to just look at the perspective of colonialism and settlers, we want to bring all the perspectives that were present in this area in the 1890s and 1870s.”

Rebecca Many Grey Horses taught a group Wednesday morning about Niitsitapi traditions and practices providing history and knowledge of the land and important members of the people, saying “These Blackfoot historical figures carried out traditions. It was an importance that they did preserve the culture and passing down knowledge to a younger generation.”

The Fort works with the Blackfoot community to ask what they would like to bring to the audience. Attendees can learn from Blackfoot knowledge keepers about the surrounding area, plants native to the river valley, and what Blackfoot people use them for, bringing the information forward to the public in different ways of learning.

Thom says “We go through a Blackfoot gallery, the trade room, and kind of look at the relationships that would have been present with the traders and the Blackfoot people. We also do presentations with Blackfoot elders, but we also do other sorts of crafts, like beading too.”

The event was looking to explore the many ways of educating attendees on culture and awareness while engaging in activities that require a hands-on experience to the way of life.

The event looks to cultivate a great understanding of who the Blackfoot people are and what their culture consists of, while appreciating the people who live on the land.

Thom says “I think it gets very hidden away sometimes, and we’re trying hard to bring it back out, right? With those ideas of reconciliation, we want people to know what it is. It’s such a rich culture.”

The thriving culture is presented in a way that engages the audience and allows an openness to learning while sharing cultural aspects. The event is held every Wednesday at 9:30 until Aug. 24, offering more chances to learn and hear from different members of the Blackfoot community.

Ryan Clarke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald

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