“Today in 1877, Treaty 7 was signed at the site of Soyopowahko on the Bow River, which is now commonly called Blackfoot Crossing. As the basis of the formal relationship between the Crown and the Siksika, Kainai, Piikani, Stoney Nakoda and Tsuut’ina First Nations, Treaty 7 is a historic agreement.

“Treaty 7 is one of 11 treaties signed in Canada, and one of seven treaties signed in the West between 1871 and 1877. While Treaty 7 was initially signed on Sept. 22, 1877, some Blackfoot leaders who were not present signed on Dec. 4, 1877.

“Treaty 7 territory stretches across 130,000 square kilometres of land in southern Alberta, from the Rocky Mountains in the west to Cypress Hills in the east, and from Red Deer River in the north to the U.S border in the south. The treaty signifies a pact to share the land and a commitment to foster mutually respectful relationships.

“Soyopowahko, which loosely translates to ‘ridge under water,’ is a place where the river can be more easily crossed, and this helped make it a place of great significance to the Blackfoot people. In 2007, 130 years after the treaty was first signed, the Blackfoot Crossing Interpretive Centre opened on this site, bringing ancient culture to new audiences. I encourage Albertans to visit this heritage site, which is located east of Calgary, and to seek other opportunities to learn more about First Nations as well.

“Alberta is committed to upholding treaty rights in the spirit of friendship and cooperation. The province is working with First Nations on matters like health care, education, economic development, employment, and more. These are outlined in the protocol agreements with the Blackfoot Confederacy and the Stoney Nakoda-Tsuut’ina Tribal Council. We look forward to continued progress and success alongside Treaty 7 Nations.”