Cultures are often expressed through our connection to “place”, where the story of land becomes the story of each of us. In Indigenous cultures, a connection to the land is central to their traditional way of life. Places are often named according to the resources or activities that took place at that spot.
For example, Calgary is in the heart of traditional Blackfoot territory, on land called Moh-kíns-tsis in the Blackfoot language. The word translates to “elbow,” in reference to the meeting of the Elbow and Bow Rivers.
Moh-kíns-tsis is the traditional territory of the Blackfoot Confederacy (the Siksika, Piikani, and Kainai First Nations), as well as the Tsuut’ina First Nation, and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations (the Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley). The city of Calgary is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.
According to Miiksika’am (Red Crane) of the Siksika Nation, you can’t separate land and people. And Calgary is home to many Indigenous cultures and people, including those visiting this territory. For a closer look at Moh-kíns-tsis and how the traditional lands relate to Calgary as we know it today, download the map in a PDF here.