What is Making Treaty 7?

Treaty 7 is one of a family of numbered treaties signed between Canada’s First Nations and Queen Victoria between 1871 and 1921. Treaty 7 paved the way for the peaceful settlement of the Province of Alberta. Making Treaty 7 tells the story of that historic agreement, and investigates the results and implications 141 years later. The purpose of Making Treaty 7 is to produce an event, of both local and international interest, with the potential to act as a transformational agent for people of all ages and backgrounds. Inspired by the founding event of modern Southern Alberta, Making Treaty 7 invites Calgarians, and all Canadians, to consider an enlightened, sustainable future – for all of us. Learn more about Our Mandate Making Treaty 7 was launched as a Cultural Capital of Canada activity under the auspices of Calgary 2012. Calgary 2012 ceased to operate at the end of its mandate, March 31, 2013. The Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society is registered as a non-profit society in Alberta, and an application for federal charitable status is currently underway. Making Treaty 7 operates as a not-for-profit entity, governed by a board of directors. Through its evolution, Making Treaty 7 has partnered with the following cultural institutions: Alberta Aboriginal Performing Arts, Alberta Theatre Projects, The Banff Centre, Fort Calgary, Heritage Park, The National Arts Centre and One Yellow Rabbit. Community partners include Treaty 7 Management Corporation, Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary, Aboriginal Futures Career & Training Centre, Calgary Public Library and the Native Centre at the University of Calgary. The project receives financial support from the Remarkable Experience Accelerator, Calgary Hotel Association, Calgary Arts Development, Alberta Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund, Canada Council for the Arts, Suncor Energy Foundation, The Calgary Foundation, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, RBC Foundation, Edmonton Community Foundation and The Rosza Foundation.

Why Making Treaty 7?

All cultures can best be expressed through their connection to “place.” The story of Canada is the story of the land we live on, that we cultivate, harvest and build our cities on. It is also the story of who each of us are, where we came from, and why we are here today. Looking forward, our story is the story of how we hope to live together in the future.

Our right to live and prosper here in Canada is made possible through a series of agreements laid out between First Nations and European new comers. The treaties outline how different cultures can co-exist as one country. Every Canadian benefits from privileges, and is bound by responsibilities, that stem directly from the agreements laid out between First Nations and European newcomers.

As a relatively young city, situated in the heart of ancient Blackfoot Territory, Calgary is still forming its cultural identity. But our collective understanding of even our recent history lacks appreciation for the promises made at Blackfoot Crossing in 1877.

Our treaty, Treaty 7, is one of a family of numbered treaties that were intended to define how two very different cultures might agree to coexist. But, to most people, Treaty 7 is an obscure, misunderstood historical artifact. This misunderstanding leads, in turn, to false assumptions, confrontation and distrust. A greater understanding of what Treaty 7 means, to each and every one of us, would be of great benefit to anyone who wishes for a better understanding of Calgary, its immediate history, and its potential as a truly great city.

Michael and Narcisse

The Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society would like to acknowledge the late ELK SHADOW / PONA KO’TAKSI, also known as Michael Green, and MIDDLE BULL / TATSIKIISTAMIK, also known as Narcisse Blood.  Elk Shadow was the founder and visionary behind the Making Treaty 7 project.  We celebrate his commitment to a shared belief that “WE ARE ALL TREATY PEOPLE”.  We are committed to ensuring that his spirit will live on.  Elk Shadow, One of Long Vision, had no boundaries and could not see color.  He was an inspiration to everyone he touched.  “This is the most rewarding and electrified piece of art that I have ever created in over 30 years,” he told us, “and to have, through this process, through the Sundance, been blessed with a spiritual awakening is a gift I could never have expected.”  Middle Bull was the Cultural and Spiritual Advisor to Making Treaty 7.  He was the Grandfather to the cast and crew; he was the walking encyclopedia of our language, our culture and our history.

Together, Middle Bull and Elk Shadow brought First Nations and non-First Nations together.  They were the heart and soul of Making Treaty 7.

Kitaitamatsin or Until We Meet Again…