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(Almost) Everybody knows about the city of Calgary, also known as the “Gateway to the Rocky Mountains” and because of its annual, word-renowned festival “Calgary Stampede“. This time, however, I approached Calgary in quite a different way: By visiting the so-called “First Nations”, the native people of Calgary, allowing for historical connections and modern life circumstances of Canada t come to life in a most impressive way.
The “Brown Bear Woman Events” welcomes Calgary visitors wishing to dig a bit deeper than the rest.
The “Spotted Elk Business Park” as well as the “Brown Bear Woman Events” Centre, which we reach after about an hour’s drive from the city centre of Calgary, is a joint project of tribal representatives of the Tsuut’ina Nation, an indigenous tribe of Canada. Unlike other indigenous people in the country, they have invested their compensation payments from both the city as well as the state in the further development of their cultural offerings. They have created seminar centers and a kind of adventure park where visitors can learn more about their culture. First out and about, we learn more about traditional facilities such as sweat lodges (the Canadian counterpart to the Finnish sauna), tipis or cultural practices such as children, men or women dances. For me personally, it is especially nice to see that there are many children taking part in the ceremonies, as well as family members of all generations: https://www.brownbearwoman.com.
The second possibility to learn more about the (indigenous) history of Calgary is the so-called “Heritage Park Calgary”.
Here, too, we are amazed at the variety of visitor experiences offered. The best thing to do is to start your tour directly from the museum, which also offers a cosy restaurant with good regional cuisine. We take an admiring look at the old cars and much older utensils from earlier settlement waves by the first European and Asian immigrants: An Eldorado for adventurers with a taste for history!
A little further afield, we finally reach the “Yellow Otter Tipi” by horse-drawn carriage. Representatives of the First Nations there inform us about the meaning of the yellow otter tipi – from the entrance protocol to the ceremony for men and women, which took place in and around the tipis.
Finally, we get to meet with representatives of the so-called “Métis”, whose ancestors consisted of partly white settlers, partly natives of Canada. Today, they proudly praise the merits and marriage of both cultures. Here, we see two charming representatives of them at work …
Following my first visit to Calgary back in 2016, I have already shared some travel tips and stories with you which you might find useful: “72 Hours in Calgary: Music, Drumheller Dinosaurs & the Wild, Wild West.”
More pictures from our culture trip in Calgary are here:
Disclaimer: We have been invited by “Destination Canada” on this culture trip to Calgary. All opinions are my own.