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Friday, 27 October 2017 05:01

Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump celebrated the Blackfoot Confederacy

Written by  Demi Knight
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Over 80 Elder's were gathered at the Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site for a feast and a day of togetherness Over 80 Elder's were gathered at the Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site for a feast and a day of togetherness Demi Knight

Elders from within the Blackfoot Confederacy assembled at the Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump on October 19 for the site’s annual gathering and feast.


 From Siksika, Kainai and Amskapi Piikani, all the way to Montana and the Northern Piikani, members of the First Nations community came together for a day of appreciation and celebration.
On this special day, Site Marketing and Special Event Coordinator at the Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump, Quinton CrowShoe was fast to express his gratitude and love for not only this event, but also for all of the support that has been given so gracefully to the historic site by the elders throughout the years.
“I want to thank all the elders that have been helping us since day one. I strongly rely on their guidance, wisdom, knowledge and direction.”
“We do this once a year, where we put together a dinner, a presentation and a slide show to honour all the elders, past and present and also as a way of thanking them for showing support to this sacred site,” added CrowShoe.
It was a day of powerful embodiment, where spirits were high, friendships were rekindled and reformed and the togetherness of First Nations culture, understanding and passion was palpable for everyone to feel, and this year, once again, it was attended by over 80 elders.
While the chefs of the site worked hard to deliver deliciously cooked meals to the masses, tables of elders and workers alike took to the microphone to share stories, wisdom and gratitude for being together at this event on the beautiful October day.
One elder, a member of the Piikani Nation, Wendy English was happy to take the microphone during the day and share her love for her peers and the opportunity to be there with so many like-minded individuals while their culture was celebrated.
“It’s a real honour to be here with everyone.” said English. “I feel that everyone here brings wise, good and positive energy. I never thought that I would be saying this but it’s an honour to be an elder and it’s really good to be here today with everyone.”
However, food and stories weren’t the only things that the day had to offer the elders but also an afternoon of entertainment. From First Nation drummers and a 50/50 raffle to a golden eagle from the Birds of Prey Centre in Coaldale for everyone to see and take pictures with at their choosing. 
What the day’s theme and focus really geared toward was to highlight beyond the entertainment was gratitude. Gratitude to every elder in attendance for their continued commitment, support, wisdom and guidance in making the Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump what it is today. Finally, gratitude for keeping with it the stories and culture that makes the site so special for many years after it’s opening.
“I’ve been here for 11 years, and everyday, I honour the people who have been here before me. I thank all the people here that has helped us out since the day this place opened, it’s been an honour to be on this journey,” says Crow Shoe to each and every elder in attendance on the special day. 
The Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump was recognized as a world heritage site in 1981, and works to showcase the significance of the area as an ancient communal hunting ground that was used by the Plains People for nearly six thousand years. Since its founding the site has grown in popularity and told the monumental story that shaped history and first nations culture in the past and into the future, and the elder’s gathering is just one event that happens throughout the year at the international treasure to celebrate the Blackfoot Community and their amazing past. 
 Site hours and event listings can be found online at http://history.alberta.ca/headsmashedin/

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