1912 was the year of the first Calgary Stampede. It featured cowboys and cowgirls, rodeo, vaudeville acts, and a parade with First Nations in full ceremonial dress. The first Stampede lasted only six days, and had approximately 1,800 First Nations in attendance.
In 1923, the Stampede became an annual event in July. The Treaty No. 7 First Nations were asked to participate, and set up their tipis by the entrance to Sun Tree Park, which is now known as Indian Village today.
In 1950, a misunderstanding concerning the way the Indian Village was to be run caused the Stoneys to boycott the Stampede. At this time, there were 30 tipis: 10 each from Siksika, Stoney, and Tsuu T’ina (the Blood and the Peigans were not officially part of the Village during much of the 1950s).
The Stoneys were probably not missed too much because of the torrential rainstorms, which caused many problems with all the events. The rain was so bad, in fact, that the media ran stories about the Stoney “rain dances.” The misunderstanding was cleared up after the Stampede and the Stoneys returned with their usual 10 tipis for the 1951 event.
As the years progressed, our participation with the Calgary Stampede has been instrumental in educating its visitors to the culture of the First Nations Plains People.