ITINERARY: Great Plains Adventure: Living History in AlbertaAlberta, Itinerary
Grey Eagle Resort & Casino
Step back in time to explore the rich and diverse culture of the nations of Treaty 7, and experience their way of life first-hand through traditional stories, cultural tours, and even sleeping in an authentic teepee. Learn from the Blackfoot Nation about how respect and understanding for the natural environment provided them not only with food, clothing, and shelter, but also to sustain traditions and culture for generations to come.
Length: 5 Nights / 6 Days
Dates: May – September
Route: Calgary – River Ranche – Blackfoot Crossing – Buffalo Rock – Calgary or Canmore
Alberta is home to more than 100 First Nation bands. Each has its own unique history, language, heritage and rituals. Yet, they all share one common vision, to respect and protect the natural world, as well as their rich culture. All around Alberta you’ll find tributes to the strength and stamina of Canada’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit. Feel the past come to life as the stories of the hunt are told through drum and dance at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, a UNESCO World Heritage Site used by the Plains Indians for at least 5,700 years. See North America’s largest concentration of petroglyphs (carvings) and pictographs (paintings) on the cliffs at Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park. Explore the interactive exhibits at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park. Sleep in a teepee, learn to make pemmican and bead a moccasin.
Day 1: Arrive in Calgary
Arrive in Calgary and check into the beautiful Grey Eagle Resort & Casino owned and operated by the Tsuut’ina First Nation. Enjoy some time at one of the shows the Resort hosts, before exploring Calgary. This rugged cowboy town is filled with history, and nearby attractions include the Calgary Tower and the Heritage.
Overnight in Calgary at the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino
Days 2 – 3: Calgary – River Ranche, Siksika Nation
Head south from Calgary towards the land of the Siksika Nation overlooking beautiful Bow River. This area is nestled within one of the largest intact cottonwood riverine ecosystems in Western Canada, and the history and surrounding environment are stunning.
Spend the next two days at the River Ranche Lodge, which specializes in both cultural and experiential adventures. Enjoy one of many activities such as kayaking, fishing or birding in the summer.
The ranch’s cultural tour takes visitors on a journey to explore the land, traditions and culture of the Blackfoot people with Elders. The nearby Siksika Interpretive Centre offers further discovery, and guided horseback rides will take you across the plain while you take in the stories of the ancient medicine wheels, the spectacular buffalo jump and more. Finish off the evening with dinner, a roaring fire and storytelling.
Overnight in River Ranche at the River Ranche Guesthouse
Day 4: River Ranche – Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park
Enjoy the day at the Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park for another immersive and unforgettable journey into the culture and lands of the Blackfoot people. Blackfoot Crossing will delight you with exhibitions, performances and traditional food. Take an outdoor tour of the numerous historic site with a local Siksika interpreter or discover the site on your own. Blackfoot Crossing or “Soyopowahko” is a ridge or bridge underwater that allows easy crossing of the Bow River and was utilized by the Siksika people for thousands of years. The park is constructed right into the escarpment located on top of a hill overlooking the historical site where Chief Crowfoot and fellow chiefs of the Blackfoot Confederacy signed Treaty No.7 with the Crown in 1877.
Today you will overnight at the Chief Crowfoot Tipi Village located right at the Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park. Step back in time and experience this authentic teepee village with interpretive talks about the flora and fauna of the area, watch demonstrations on how to smoke meat and learn the life of the Plains people.
Overnight at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park – Chief Crowfoot Tipi Village
Day 5: Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park – Buffalo Rock Tipi Camp
Depart Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park early morning for Buffalo Tipi Camp (located near Fort McLeod) – a two-hour drive south along some of Canada’s most scenic plains. Buffalo Tipi Camp is a First Nations cultural and educational experience situated right on a river bank. Its setting provides a private and tranquil atmosphere for guests to be one with nature. Spend the day experiencing the Indigenous way of life, from sweet grass and wild mint harvesting to drum and dance demonstrations, and learning how to build a teepee.
Overnight near Fort McLeod at Buffalo Rock Tipi Camp