Tours

TOURS

GUIDED AND SELF GUIDED

Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park site tours.
Take a indoor tour of the exhibit hall with a local Siksika guide, who will escort you through this 62,000 square foot eco-friendly museum, explaining the facility and exhibits. Afterwards you are welcome to go back to any exhibit area and explore it more. For more the adventuresome there is a self-guided tour just a short walk from the interpretive centre. Take a indoor tour of the exhibit hall with a local Siksika guide, who will escort you through this 62,000 square foot eco-friendly museum, explaining the facility and exhibits. Afterwards you are welcome to go back to any exhibit area and explore it more. If a guided tour is not your style, we invite you to explore our history and culture at your own pace with our interactive exhibits.
Historical Self-Guided Outdoor Tour
There are several historic sites contained within Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park just a short walk from the interpretive centre. Here visitors will begin to understand the importance of this place as well as sense its ancient wonder. Self-Guided Tour area maps are available at the front desk.

Indoor Guided Tour

Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park offers a guided indoor tour at $3.00/person, but it must be booked in advance. For the tour, a local Siksika interpreter will guide you around the 62,000 square foot eco-friendly museum, explaining the facility and exhibits. Afterward, you are welcome to go back to any exhibit area and explore it more. If a guided tour is not your style, we invite you to explore our history and culture at your own pace with our interactive exhibits and/or you can go on a self-guided outdoor tour along the pathway. There are also information displays set up outside for your convenience.
tours

outdoor Self Guided

Blackfoot Crossing

The Blackfoot Crossing area was of particular significance to the Siksika (Blackfoot) First Nation as a traditional wintering ground and gathering place. It is also a significant location in Canadian history, this is the site where the signing of Treaty No.7 took place, with the Government and the tribes of the Blackfoot Confederacy. The Blackfoot Confederacy consisted of the Siksika, Piikani (Peigan), Kainaiwa (Blood), Tsuu T’ina (Sarcee), and the Stoney (Bearspaw, Chiniki, and Wesley/Goodstoney). In late September 1877, representatives of the Blackfoot Confederacy and the Canadian and British governments with the insistence of Siksika Chief Crowfoot, became the official gathering place and entered peacefully Treaty No. 7 negotiations here at Blackfoot Crossing. View of Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park on the ridge and valley view- with accessible walking pathsThe choice of this site was controversial among the Blackfoot peoples at the time. The leaders of the Kainai (Blood) and Piikani (Peigan) tribes preferred to meet at Fort Macleod, the original site chosen for the negotiations. Chief Crowfoot, however, would not meet in the fort, and as Crowfoot was deemed by government officials as a First Nations leader whose influence was critical at the treaty negotiations, Blackfoot Crossing was chosen instead. After the signing of Treaty No. 7, Blackfoot Crossing became the heart of Siksika reserve lands.

Poundmakers Monument

The site of Poundmaker's grave is marked with a stone circle and a small cairn. Poundmaker was Chief Crowfoot’s adopted son. On their first encounter, Crowfoot was immediately struck by the resemblance of Poundmaker to his dead son, who had been killed during a raid on a Cree camp. Crowfoot invited Poundmaker to stay with the Blackfoot at Blackfoot Crossing as his adopted son. Poundmaker became a visionary Cree chief, and demonstrated his concern for the future of his people in his reluctance to accept Treaty No. 6. Poundmaker- Cree Chief-1885Like his adoptive father- Crowfoot, Poundmaker counseled peace with the whites. In the face of growing frustration over government mismanagement culminating in the 1885 North-West Rebellion, he urged restraint, and was able to prevent further bloodshed at the battle of Cut-Knife Creek. Following the rebellion, Poundmaker was sentenced to four years and jailed at Stoney Mountain penitentiary for “treason-felony”. He was released from jail after serving one year due to poor health. After his release he returned to the Blackfoot Crossing Reserve in 1886. Four months later he suffered a severe lung hemorrhage and died. Only later was he acknowledged for his uncompromising role as a peacemaker and defender of his people. His burial site was marked by an Alberta Government cairn in 1961, but he was exhumed and reburied on his home reserve in Saskatchewan in 1967.

Chief Crowfoot’s "Isapo-muxika" Grave Site

The grave is located near Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park. The grave is marked with a cross. The life of Crowfoot and the Blackfoot people are inextricably linked. Chief Crowfoot is commemorated for his instrumental role in leading his people through changes on the Blackfoot Reserve. He was truly “the Father of his people”. Crowfoot was born along the Belly River in approximately 1830. Crowfoot had been born into the Blood Tribe, but later became chief of the Siksika. He earned his name after becoming wounded while fighting the Crow tribe. Chief CrowfootBy 1865 he had become a minor chief of the Siksika. In that same year, Crowfoot met Catholic missionary Father Lacombe. Following the smallpox epidemic of 1869-70, Crowfoot became one of the two remaining main Siksika chiefs. He welcomed the North-West Mounted Police when they arrived in 1874 because he feared the effects of the whisky trade on his people. Crowfoot played a pivotal role in the Treaty 7 negotiations. At their conclusion, he asked that the government be charitable and that the police protect the Blackfoot. He soon became disillusioned, however, with the Department of Indian Affairs and the role of Indian agents on the reserve. He died in 1890.

Treaty Seven Monument

The site tells of the agreement made between the five Blackfoot Confederacy Tribes, the Blackfoot, Bloods, Peigan, Stoney (now Nakoda) and the Sarcee (Tsuu T’ina) and the government. The signing of the treaty is a true historical event which has had a major impact on the evolution of the Blackfoot Nation (Siksika). A monument exists at this location at Blackfoot Crossing to mark the signing of Treaty No. 7 and the centennial celebrations with Prince Charles attending a re-enactment in 1977 of the Treaty.

Last Tipi Site

The site is marked by a circle of stones and a hearth. Crowfoot returned to this final campsite at the end of his life and nearby is the final resting place of his favorite horse.

Earthlodge Village

A natural cultural resource and historical site situated adjacent to the Bow River near the new Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park. It represents a settlement area established around 1740-42, by a people who migrated or were strongly influenced by the culture of the Middle Missouri region of the Dakotas. There is historical evidence that they may have come from the Mandan tribes. The fortified village was constructed in a half circle surrounded by a moat. The depression of the moat is still visible as well as circular depressions of the earth lodges. Excavations were done there in 1875, 1881, 1911, 1960, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014, 2016, and 2017. The University of Calgary Archaeology department will undertake more excavation of the Earthlodge Village over the next several years. Maybe the questions about who these people were and where they came from will finally be answered! Read more below.
Out Door Tour

Earthlodge Village

Earthlodge Village

Directly west of the Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park Interpretive Centre is an unique historical site known as the Cluny Earthlodge Village. Its exact origins remain a mystery, but oral history, early historical accounts and archaeology give many clues to the history of this fascinating place. Cluny Earthlodge Village Map- Click for Larger MapEvidence shows that this camp had a fortified palisade wall, moat-like trench and dwellings made of logs and earth. Archaeologist Richard Forbis concluded that the village was established about 1740 by a group who migrated from the Middle Missouri region of the Dakotas. The structural features, pottery and other artifacts have established a link to what is now called the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (or Sahnish) Nation of North Dakota. The Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara are also known as the Three Affiliated Tribes. Members of the Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park storyline committee travelled to North Dakota and met with the Cultural Preservation Officer at the band office. They also spoke to local Elders and learned that there is oral history that some groups of Mandan/Hidatsa once travelled north, and later returned speaking another language. They commissioned Arlie Knight to create a model of an Earthlodge. Originally the Hidatsa and Crows were one and the same tribe. The Crow separated from the Hidatsa in the early part of 1700.

The Earthlodge Village

Out Door Tour

Archeology Project

Digging up the Past

Come visit Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park and walk the grounds of the park where you will literally be stepping over dozens, if not hundreds, of archaeological sites. Most are well known sites, like the Fortified Earthlodge Village, but some have yet to be discovered! Come walk our trails which meander through this ancient valley and try to imagine where they might be…….you will truly get the sense this is a land before time!

2016-2017 Update

The University of Calgary’s Department of Archaeology finished up another year of progress on the excavation site. The archaeology team from the University of Calgary, led by Dale Walde, Associate Professor from the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, finished their dig at the Cluny Fortified Village site for the summer of 2016 and 2017. Dr. Walde informed us of new artifacts discovered: “shell beads (three new shapes, such as oval and oblong with offset holes), a tobacco bag, broken buffalo bones, bone beads, a flesher tool made of bone, and the debris from the creation of stone tools.” This archaeological excavation is an annual event and will resume in spring/summer 2018. Blackfoot Crossing would like to thank Dr. Walde and his team for their work and assistance in contributing to Blackfoot history and archives. A museum exhibit showcasing these new findings for all to see is in the process of preparation. We are hoping to unveil this new exhibit in 2018.

EXCAVATIONS

Archaeologist Dr. Richard Forbis obtained permission from the Blackfoot Tribal Council to conduct a controlled excavation at the Earthlodge Village site in 1960. He was supported by the Glenbow Foundation and Harold A. Huscher of the Smithsonian who directed the field operations. A number of Siksika assisted in the excavation. The information gathered from this project provided many clues in the enduring mystery of the Earthlodge Village.

University of Calgary Project

A brief reconnaissance by three volunteer students guided by Leonard Bearshirt was conducted on weekends following the formal end of the 2007 field season.That reconnaissance revealed the presence of a number of interesting circular vegetation patterns and, most importantly, an arrangement of five large pits a few hundred metres from EePf–1 that strongly resemble pit houses. If these are, indeed, pit houses, they would be unique to the Canadian Plains and of extremely high scientific and cultural significance. Part of the 2009 field project should be devoted to detailed mapping and test excavation of the possible pit house features discovered off–site during the survey exercise to assess their function and significance. The study of these pit features would be conducted by the Department of Archaeology, University of Calgary advanced field school class under the supervision of Dr. Dale Walde. A detailed survey will be conducted to record all surface aspects of these features and a series of test units will be opened within the features in an effort to determine their function and age. A report on the results of this work will be submitted by Dr. Walde and all artifacts will be catalogued and boxed for future storage at the BCHP Interpretive Centre.