Today’s drive into Alberta’s history focuses on our First Nations Peoples. You may have heard them referred to as the Treaty 7 Nations (after the treaty that was signed in 1877 between the Canadian Government and five First Nations; Siksika, Kainai, Piikani, Stoney-Nakoda, and Tsuut’tina.
Alberta has a rich history. Nowhere is this more apparent than at Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo-Jump. This historic spot where the Blackfoot People held communal bison hunts is an amazing spot where adults and kids alike can learn about the Plains Buffalo Culture.
A short drive south of Calgary (ok, short by my standards, about 90 minutes) this is one of our favorite spots on the Experience Alberta’s History Annual Pass. This pass is terrific for a family like ours who loves to take road trips around the province (when we aren’t venturing farther from home.)
One of the terrific things about Head-Smashed-in is that there is a lot to see and do indoors so no matter the weather, you can have a good visit. And if you plan your arrival right, there are many special activities offered throughout the year. (The Buffalo Jump Cafe is only open April 10 – October 1 so we weren’t able to sample any of their native- themed fare on this visit, oh well, a good reason for a return trip!)
The vistas are amazing from the trail at the top of the jump. These are some I took a couple of years ago, it was February and a beautiful day…this year all we see is snow.
There are lots of fun opportunities for kids to learn about First Nations culture by speaking with Elders from the community. There are also presentations and tours, depending on the day. EJ loves this part.
View from the bottom of the cliff (another February shot.) Legend has it that a young brave wanted to see the buffalo tumbling past as they came over the cliff so he hid under a ledge at the bottom of the jump where see them tumble he did. Sadly, the hunt was so good that they piled up and he became trapped between the animals and the cliffs. When he was found, his head had been crushed by the weight of the great beasts and so this place got its name.
As I’m sure you can see from our outside photos, there is lots of space for walking the trails and learning more about this special place. So special in fact that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (other sites with this designation include the Pyramids of Egypt, the Taj Mahal, and Stonehenge. A pretty important designation and I am proud to say we have five of these sites in Alberta!)
After our visit, we headed home but not before stopping for a late lunch/early supper in Claresholm at (you guessed it) another spot that has been on You Gotta Eat Here, Roy’s Place where I ordered my standard clubhouse sandwich (they were my mom’s favorite too.)
Satisfied with our day (and our meal) we headed north on highway 2 for home. Another day spent learning about our history together.
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