Parks Canada and the Blackfoot Confederacy mark the start of construction with blessing
May 23, 2019 Waterton Park, Alberta Parks Canada Agency
Across the country, Parks Canada and Indigenous peoples are partners in conserving Canada’s natural and cultural heritage and sharing the stories of these treasured places. Today, Parks Canada was honoured to host a traditional Blackfoot blessing ceremony by the Káínai and Piikáni First Nations in Waterton Lakes National Park to mark the start of construction on the park’s new visitor centre.
The ceremony, which included representatives from Káínai, Piikáni, Siksiká, and Aamsskáápipikani, Parks Canada and contractors, is a traditional way to bring together the project team and provided a blessing for safety for those involved in the construction.
Parks Canada is committed to a system of national heritage places that recognizes and honours the contributions of Indigenous peoples, their histories and cultures, as well as the special relationships Indigenous peoples have with traditional lands and waters. Waterton Lakes National Park is part of the traditional territory and a place of significance for the Blackfoot (Niitsitapi). The land, water, air, animals, and plants are all interconnected with significant meaning, and are woven together into the fabric of contemporary Blackfoot life. Parks Canada is working closely with Káínai and Piikáni First Nations to jointly develop the new visitor centre’s interpretive programming. Once open, the centre’s interpretive exhibits and theatre will be a place where visitors can learn about Blackfoot culture, history, and their connection to what is now Waterton Lakes National Park.
Parks Canada very much values the relationship with the Blackfoot, and will continue to work closely with Káínai and Piikáni First Nations on matters relating to the management of Waterton Lakes National Park.