Y7G Visits Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park

On Wednesday, November 18th, the YMCA 7th Generation groups from both Ernest Manning High School and Crescent Heights High School gathered together on an especially cold winter day and made the journey to Blackfoot Crossing on the Siksika Nation – the historical site where Treaty 7 was made between her Majesty the Queen and the people of the Blackfoot Confederacy.

Y7G Blackfoot Crossing

We were all spellbound by the interpretive center and all it had to offer. There we were able to explore the life of the Blackfoot people before the signing of Treaty 7 – a rich cultural life that revolved primarily around their most important source of food, shelter, clothing, tools and spiritual connection: the Buffalo (or what some jokingly refer to as the Walmart of their time). We learned how drastically their lives changed when they no longer had the Buffalo to sustain their nomadic way of life, and how this led them to make Treaty with the federal government and its royal head of state. The chiefs and elder who were present on that historic day, had to struggle with a decision that would determine the well-being of generations to come – a true test of leadership that is difficult to imagine being placed on any of our own shoulders.


This was an unforgettable experience for myself and for our students, and one that I am very glad we were able to offer them through the 7th Generation Program.


 

Also laid out before us was the Indian Act of 1876, sprawled across the walls of the museum. In this way students were able to grasp the immensity of the document (literally) and of its effects on all Native American people – many of which are still felt today, and some that have been subjected to progress and change for the Aboriginal people.

The students gathered facts on the history of the Blackfoot people, working together to decipher these historical documents and what they mean to the Blackfoot people. It was heartwarming to see our young leaders engage in reflection and discussion around these topics in a deep and personal way.

As we left the museum and looked out onto the rolling hills and plains around us, you could easily picture the vast number of roaming buffalo that once grazed this land; or the numerous tipis that filled the grounds on September 22, 1877, the day that Treaty 7 was made.

This was an unforgettable experience for myself and for our students, and one that I am very glad we were able to offer them through the 7th Generation Program.

 

 


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