Identifying Rocky Mountain peaks visible from Calgary is an ongoing personal project which gives a sense of perspective to life in the foothills. Individual peaks are like waves that seem to rise and descend disappearing from view depending on the clarity of the air or the time of day.

From this view on Crescent Heights overlooking the Bow River we can glimpse Gibraltar Mt. 2665 m. to the west (on the left side of the image). The Misty Range which are part of the Highrock Range on the east side of Kananaskis Provincial Park are visible next. This includes Mist Mt. 3140 m. and Storm Mt. 3095 m. Then we see Bluerock Mt. 2789 m. and Mt. Burns 2936 m.

Mt. Rae 3225 m. which is also part of the Highrock Range’s Misty Range, “serves as the head of the main watershed to Calgary, Alberta by way of the Rae Glacier flowing into Elbow Lake, source of the Elbow River. At 10,558’, Rae is the highest mountain viewed on the front range from Calgary. [It was named in 1859 after Arctic explorer Dr. John Rae.] Mt. Rae was recommended by this post at http://www.summitpost.org as “the most scenic and accessible high alpine foliage in all of the Canadian Rockies.”

Continuing north and to the right we can see Cougar Mt. 2863 m. and Mt. Sarrail 3147 m.

Tombstone Mt. 3035 m. in the Opal Range is next.

Banded Peak 2934 m., Outlaw Peak 2970 m., Mt. Cornwall 2956 m., and Mt. Glasgow 2950 m. are part of the Glasgow Group in the Front Ranges. These are stunning from the top of Moose Mountain.

Mount Glasgow is in the Elbow Valley of the Kananaskis Range. Banded Peak is one of the easiest to identify because of the brown cliff band which is visible all year round. Mt. Cornwall just behind Mount Glasgow has a highly visible arch of permanent snow-covered scree slopes.

Further north are Mt. Blane 2972 m., Mt. Brock 2879 m., Mt. Hood 2873 m.of the Opal Range with Mt. Evan Thomas 3097 m. as the most northerly peak in the range. The Opal Range strata is thrust in a striking vertical orientation. George Dawson mistakenly thought that small cavities lined with quartz were coated with a film of opal.

Mt. Remus 2688 m and Mt Romulus 2832 m are marked but they cluster where with other Opal mountain peaks and are not that clearly distinguished.

Fisher Peak 3052 m. is quite prominent. It is the highest peak in the Fisher Range a range of mountains which includes mountains between Calgary and Kananaskis Highway.

Mt . Howard 2777 m. is half hidden behind the tall building.

Prairie Mountain and Moose Mountain would be the next in line to the north but they are not visible in this photo.


In the week following Harper’s apology the headline story of the Calgary Herald‘s Sunday edition was a special report on the youth suicide epidemic on Tsuu T’ina Nation. That Saturday we spent the afternoon exploring the Sibbald Flat area.

The camping tradition at Sibbald Lake which spans several cultures and at least 11, 000 years continues today. It is with cruel irony that this area should be named after Howard E. Sibbald, an Indian agent (1901-1904) turned Banff National Park game warden (1909-). He was the Indian agent when the outer boundaries of Banff National Park were enlarged to encompass nearly all the hunting grounds of the Stoney-Nakoda First Nations and although he understood that the Stoney “took the enlargement of the Banff National Park very hard” he became a fierce opponent of First Nations hunting rights. So there it is, visitors to this area come away with his name on their photos! This region is associated with some of the oldest archaeological evidence of paleo-Indian hunting dating from the Plano Period (10,000 – 8,000 BP) as the glaciers retreated (now revised to as far back as 13, 000 years ago), the Assiniboine hunters of the 1700s and the Siouan-speaking Nakoda-Stoney who probably arrived in Banff in historic times-almost certainly after 1790, and perhaps not until the mid-1800s but they knew the place well by 1870. Surveyors and explorers of the late nineteenth century typically turned to Stoney guides, and as a result many landforms in Banff National Park are still known by their Stoney names.

Howard E. Sibbald was the the Indian agent on the reserve when the outer boundaries of Banff National Park were enlarged to encompass nearly all the hunting grounds of the Stoney-Nakoda First Nations. In his annual report (1902) he wrote that the Stoney “took the enlargement of the Banff National Park very hard.” In 1903 he added that

“I consider these Indians have behaved very well under certain restrictions put upon them in connection with their hunting in the National Park; this was a hard blow to some of the old hunters who have hunted over this ground all their lives, but the majority see the benefits to be derived from this preserve in years to come (Sibbald 1902, 1903 Binnema and Niemi 2006)”

A Selected Timeline Related to Critical Events in this Region

11,000 years ago Prehistoric hunters chipped stone spearpoints to hunt in the hot grasslands. The Plano Period (10,000 – 8,000 BP) About 10,000 years ago the climate began to change and grasslands spread across southern Alberta. Mammoths and many other Ice Age animals became extinct, A beautiful example of an Alberta point. While other animals flourished including antelope and a new, smaller species of bison. This period, known as the ‘Plano’ period after the Spanish word for plains, lasted up to 8,000 years ago. http://www.abheritage.ca/alberta/archaeology/overview_pg3_planopr.html

1670-1821 The forefathers of the Nakoda Nation, identified as the Mountain Stoney and the Wood Stoney, lived during the fur trade era (1670 – 1821). “It is probable that all the Stoney Nakoda groups interacted and camped with one another during the pre-contact and early fur trade period, and gradually intermingled with other Assiniboine and Siouan speaking families over the centuries (Abawathtech.)

1700s Assiniboine hunted bison with bows. Aspen trees were already established. Prior to the arrival of Anthony Henday in central Alberta in 1754, Aboriginal people from the area were trading with Europeans either directly by visiting posts to the north and east themselves, or indirectly by trading with Cree and Assiniboine groups. These Aboriginal traders exchanged goods they had acquired from fur trade posts for furs, Beaver Indians at trading post. horses, food and other products. In turn, they then traded furs and other goods at posts for more goods that they could trade later. In this way European trade goods reached Alberta in unknown qualities for at least half a century before the first European arrived in person to trade.

1790 – “The Siouan-speaking Stoney (Nakoda) probably arrived in Banff in historic times-almost certainly after 1790, and perhaps not until the mid-1800s but they knew the place well by 1870. Surveyors and explorers of the late nineteenth century typically turned to Stoney guides, and as a result many landforms in Banff National Park are still known by their Stoney names [1] (Binnema and Niemi 2006).”

1875- Cattle ranchers had already arrived. Pine trees were already established.50 years ago Stoney Indian wove freshly-cut willows into the walls of a sweat lodge. There was already an open meadow.

1875 The Ontario family Andrew Sibbald came to Morley, AB from Ontario to teach at George and John McDougall’s mission at Morley. In May 1900, Andrew Sibbald’s son, Howard E. Sibbald became the farmer in charge at Morley, and from 1901 to 1904 he was the Indian agent there.

1880s Indian agents did tolerate or even encourage Indians to hunt for subsistence during the winters during the 1880s and early 1890s, and even later in more remote regions, but they believed that when a sedentary agricultural way of life was feasible for any given community, that community should be dissuaded from hunting. Thus, from the perspective of some Indian officials, the restriction of aboriginal hunting rights might be a blessing in disguise.

1895 Quebec established its 2,531-square-mile Laurentides National Park in prohibiting all hunting in the park.

1900 Quebec deputy superintendent general reported that the aboriginals’ loss of hunting rights in the 2,531-square-mile Laurentides National Park near their reserve was one of the important factors that led them to direct their efforts towards agriculture.

1900 The last known wild passenger pigeon was killed around 1900.

1902 Howard E. Sibbald was the the Indian agent on the reserve when the outer boundaries of Banff National Park were enlarged to encompass nearly all the hunting grounds of the Stoney-Nakoda First Nations. In his annual report (1902) he wrote that the Stoney “took the enlargement of the Banff National Park very hard.” Reflecting on the enlargement of Banff National Park, wrote “I hope it will be for the best, for as long as there was any game so close to the reserve, it was hard for them to get down to work.”

1903-02 The Canadian Magazine published its obituary for the wild passenger pigeon species.

“[L]aws for the protection of our fish and game we have in plenty, but laws that are not enforced, and which are not supported by public sympathy, are worse than useless.” See Binnema and Niemi 2006.

1903 In his annual report Indian agent, Howard E. Sibbald, wrote that although hunting restrictions were “a hard blow to some of the old [Siouan-speaking Nakoda-Stoney] hunters, … the majority see the benefits to be derived from this preserve in years to come.” By that time, more Stoney had taken up paid work as guides even in the national park. He added that

“I consider these Indians have behaved very well under certain restrictions put upon them in connection with their hunting in the National Park; this was a hard blow to some of the old hunters who have hunted over this ground all their lives, but the majority see the benefits to be derived from this preserve in years to come (Sibbald 1902, 1903 Binnema and Niemi 2006)”

1903 In his annual report Howard Douglas argued that,

“Moose were frequently seen, elk, and black tail deer, big horns, and goats were plentiful; now some of these have totally disappeared… [and] there can only be one opinion on the subject. The Stony Indians are primarily responsible for this condition of affairs. They are very keen hunters, and have always been, and they are the only Indians who hunt in this section of the mountains. For years, from their reserve, they have systematically driven the valleys and hills and slaughtered the game. Their lodges are full of wild skins and meat. From thirty to fifty of the lodges are continually in the mountains from September 1 till Christmas … [T]he old haunts are deserted, the sheep runs are falling into disuse, and the greatest game country the sun ever shone upon is fast becoming a thing of the past. True, within the last few years, there has been a close season in which the Indians are supposed to stop harassing the game, but no notice has been taken of the law, and in short time this vast tract of mountain land, abounding in all that is required for the sustenance of wild animals, will be deserted, unless the Indians are compelled to live on their reserves. Laws are useless unless they are enforced. There seems to be a feeling that it would not do to press the more radical feature of the law amongst Indians. I feel that we have reached the time, when we can take a step in advance, when we can apply the laws more forcibly than we have, without creating any adverse sentiment. Let the line be drawn now; if we wait longer, the game will be gone (Douglas 1903).”

1904
In his annual report Howard Douglas made an appeal for game wardens as the noted that with the expansion of the boundaries of the park, that there were increased difficulties in enforcement. What was not clearly explained in his annual report was that the new boundaries prevented the Nakoda-Stoney from hunting on almost all their hunting grounds! Douglas called for “the establishment of a rigid and thorough system of game guardians to maintain the legislation needed for the enforcement of much more severe penalties for its infraction.”

1909-06
The Canadian government provided for the hiring of game wardens in national parks. Douglas believed that the Nakoda-Stoney were the most serious threat to the game of Banff National Park and he therefore chose Howard E. Sibbald as the first chief game guardian.

1910 In Glacier National Park in Montana, William R. Logan, the park’s first superintendent, was the former Indian agent on the Blackfoot reservation.

1911 The Canadian government passed the Dominion Forest Reserves and Parks Act, which established the Dominion Parks Branch-the world’s first national park service-and helped institutionalize the Warden Service of the national parks. This altered the boundaries of national parks so that areas that were not important tourist destinations were removed from the national parks. As a result much of the land in Banff Park was reallocated to a forest reserve. The Stoney only briefly took heart. In August 1911, the assistant secretary of the Department of the Interior sent a sternly worded letter to the secretary of the DIA announcing that it intended to enforce a new regulation that stipulated that no one was allowed to enter the forest reserves without special permission from the Department of Forestry. The documents suggest then, that the policies of barring aboriginal people from Banff National Park were rooted primarily in the goals and values of conservationists and sportsmen. But aboriginal subsistence hunting also frustrated one of the central goals of the DIA at the time: the civilization and assimilation of aboriginal people. When he was still the Indian agent at Morley, in 1903, Howard Sibbald opined that “as long as they can hunt you cannot civilize them. I have lived alongside of them for twenty six years, and with the exception of a few of the younger ones they are no more civilized now than they were when I first knew them, and I blame hunting as the cause.”

1930s By the 1930s, few Nakoda-Stoney could depend on full-time subsistence hunting.

1991

1996 RCAP

2008 Harper’s Apology

Notes

1. Luxton, Banff, Canada’s First National Park, 49–50. For the Kutenai, see Raoul A. Andersen, “Alberta Stoney (Assiniboine) Origins and Adaptations: A Case for Reappraisal,” Ethnohistory 17 (1970): 48–61; and Theodore Binnema, Common and Contested Ground: A Human and Environmental History of the Northwestern Plains (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2001), 81–82. For the Blackfeet, see Spence, Dispossessing the Wilderness, chap. 5; Brian Reeves and Sandra Peacock, “‘Our Mountains Are Our Pillows': An Ethnographic Overview of Glacier National Park” (Glacier National Park, 2001); Brian O. K. Reeves, Mistakis: The Archaeology of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (Bozeman: Montana State University Press, 2003); and Binnema, Common and Contested Ground, chap. 2. The ancestors of the Stoney were among the Assiniboine who broke from the Sioux sometime before 1640. Some of their descendants were in the forests and foothills of the Rocky Mountains by the late 1700s, and in the area of present-day Banff Park by the mid 1800s. See Hugh A. Dempsey, Indian Tribes of Alberta (Calgary: Glenbow Museum, 1988), 42–43. Also see Luxton, Banff, Canada’s First National Park, chap. 4

Bibliography and Webliography

Binnema, Theodore (Ted) and Melanie Niemi, ‘Let the Line be Drawn Now': Wilderness, Conservation, and the Exclusion of Aboriginal People from Banff National Park in Canada. Environmental History. 11.4 (2006): 33 pars. 15 Jun. 2008 <http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/eh/11.4/binnema.html>.

Hildebrandt, Walter; Carter, Sarah; First Rider, Dorothy. 2008. The True Spirit and Original Intent of Treaty 7: Treaty 7 Elders and Tribal Council With Walter Hildebrandt, Dorothy First Rider, and Sarah Carter. Mcgill-Queens Native and Northern Series. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. ISBN: 0-7735-1522-4 408pp. http://mqup.mcgill.ca/book.php?bookid=1419

http://www.heritagecommunityfdn.org

http://www.albertasource.ca/treaty7/treaty/perspectives_elders.html

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