Life is a collection of stories. Stories help us connect and make sense of our lives and the lives of others. We can find meaning in the stories of others and through this meaning establish a connection that has greater meaning to us than scattered facts or abstract assumptions. We are grade 2 and 3 students from Dr. Morris Gibson School in Okotoks, Alberta and this is our story of how we came to know the Blackfoot people. It is but one story of many, yet it is a story that carries deep meaning and experience for us.
Okotoks is situated on traditional Blackfoot territory and was named from the Blackfoot word Ohkohtok meaning Rock because of the large glacial erratic located approximately 8 kilometers southwest of Okotoks. This rock weighs over 18000 tons and was deposited by glaciers during the last Ice Age. The Blackfoot considered the rock to be a living being and today it still remains a sacred site. For thousands of years the Northern Blackfoot or Siksika inhabited the land that we now live on. They were nomadic and always on the move in search of food. They became a prairie people; a people of the buffalo.
Guided by their ancient stories and teachings their culture began at the moment nature and man coexisted in a respectful and responsible manner. Their traditional territory was extremely important to them as they lived in harmony with the earth never in control of it. The mountains, the foothills and the prairie defined them. Plants and animals sustained them. This was their home.
Our journey began with the land and visits to the Big Rock. We learned about and felt the importance of their territory. Through their ancient stories we learned how they made sense of the world around them. Lastly we looked at the colors, patterns and designs of their clothing, tipis, and story robes. Please join us as we tell you our story of how we came to know the Blackfoot people.
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All else copyright © 2002 Pam Irving, Lorraine Flavelle and Galileo Educational Network Association