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City of Calgary installing tipis in parks in partnership with Indigenous nations

Click to play video: '‘A safe place’: Calgary Indigenous School celebrates 20 year anniversary, opening time capsule'
‘A safe place’: Calgary Indigenous School celebrates 20 year anniversary, opening time capsule
WATCH: June 21st marks National Indigenous Peoples Day and in addition to events and walks happening around the city of Calgary, a local Indigenous school is also marking a special anniversary. Piitoayis Family School has been offering Alberta curriculum through the lens of First Nations' perspectives and experience for 20 years. Sarah Offin reports – Jun 21, 2023

The City of Calgary is partnering with numerous Indigenous nations to install tipis and trapper tents in parks across the city this summer.

The city said it is partnering with the Blackfoot Confederacy, Tsuut’ina Nation, Stoney Nakoda Nations and Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3 to provide spaces for Indigenous peoples in parks. The tipis and tents are spaces for Indigenous people to host cultural celebrations, traditional practices and sharing.

A ceremony was held at Prince’s Island Park on Wednesday to transfer a Blackfoot tipi design to two city staff members: Indigenous landscape strategist Crystal Many Fingers and parks director Kyle Ripley.

The day was chosen because of the cultural significance of the summer solstice, as well as it being National Indigenous Peoples Day. National Indigenous Peoples Day is a day to celebrate the cultures, resilience and histories of First Nations, Inuit and Métis across Canada.

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Click to play video: 'Calgarians celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day'
Calgarians celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day

The ceremony was conducted by Traditional Grandfathers Leonard Weasel Traveller (Bastien) and Clement Leather, supported by Holy Buffalo Woman (Motokiiks) Leanne Sleigh.

“I grew up with this, but to be part of it, to be actually given the honour of the tepee, transferred over to Kyle and myself on behalf of the city of Calgary was an awesome honour,” Many Fingers said. “I know my mom is looking down and my dad, too. It’s awesome to be here.”

Ripley said he was moved by the ceremony and described the tipi design transfer as a huge honour.

“Crystal and I now have new Grandfathers, traditional Blackfoot Grandfathers, who we can call on when we have a problem or when we’re in crisis,” he said.

“Our First Nations have a very rich and important history on these lands, and as Parks and Open Spaces we feel very connected to that history as we work to care for the traditional lands within our open space system.”

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