Friday, September 8

Celebrating Indigenous Days at Banff Sunshine!

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Sep 8, 2023

Celebrating Indigenous Days at Banff Sunshine!

Happy last weekend of Summer, Sunshiners!

Calling all mountain-lovers, hikers and outdoor adventurers up to the Sunshine Meadows to celebrate community and culture for our end-of-summer celebrations.


To finish the summer season strong, we have invited Stoney Nakoda Watâga Singers and Dancers to share the vibrant history of traditional indigenous dances with us.


Banff National Park sits on the present-day territories of the treaty 6, 7, 8, and the Métis Nation Homeland.

Start your day with a 22-minute-long gondola ride and experience all the Rocky Mountain richness the Sunshine Meadow’s has to offer. Followed by a performance from the Stoney Nakoda Watâga Singers and Dancers at 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM in the village.

In each dance, the regalia (a traditional indigenous outfit) signifies culture and history. Every traditional indigenous dance tells a story, and just like regalia, the dances vary based on nation, region and band.


This weekend, the Stoney Nakoda Watâga Singers and Dancers will be performing:


The Northern Traditional Dance

After a major event, warriors would return to their village and share their story through dance. After spending time away from the village, upon return hunters would re-enact their story of tracking prey, by imitating the animals they hunted. Other times, fighters returning from war would share their experience through sacred dance and footwork. After centuries of men continuing this traditional method of storytelling, the dance became standardized, but the roots stay the same with footwork that signifies the skills of a warrior or hunter.


Grass Dance

The name, “Grass Dance,” is more of a literal translation, men traditionally entered the dance circle with braids of grass tucked into their belts. Before a ceremony, powwow or the site of a new village, young men would honor the land, imitating blessings and land-clearing through dance. Some nations believe the grass dance to be a healing dance performed in aid of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing. It is believed that a medicine man came to a young boy unable to use his legs appeared to him through vision, encouraging the boy to imitate the swaying of prairie grass with his arms. By becoming one with nature, the boys search for strength gained him the ability to use his legs.


The Chicken Dance

The chicken dance mirror’s the bond between indigenous people, wildlife and nature. The dance showcases and mimics the male prairie chicken's flamboyant movements during mating season. The regalia of this magical dance is dressed with bright, colorful feathers to enhance the re-enactment of the male prairie chicken’s behavior.


Jingle Dance

The Jingle Dance may be one of the most iconic indigenous dances and is said to have come to a young woman through a dream. In her dream, a snake (representing healing, transformation and rebirth) told her she could heal her father if she performed the jingle dance for her ailing parent. Today, the jingle dance symbolizes prayer for healing and protection. When watching the Jingle Dance, pay close attention to the dancer’s feet. One foot will remain planted on the ground at all times to signify the dancer's connection to mother earth.

At Banff Sunshine Village, we acknowledge that Banff National Park is within the traditional and ancestral territory of the Stoney Nakoda First Nation and Tsuut'ina Nation as well as the Blackfoot Confederacy: Kainai, Piikani and Siksika. We would also like to acknowledge the Treaties 6, 7 & 8 and the Metis peoples who also reside in Alberta. Historically, the lands and waters of Banff National Park have been used by indigenous people for sustenance, ceremony, travel, and trade.  


This weekend, witness the vibrant culture within our community. Entry to our end-of-summer community event at Banff Sunshine is complimentary with the purchase of a summer sightseeing lift ticket. Click here to learn more.


Join our Indigenous Days celebrations for our final weekend of summer, and enjoy our 6 maintained and monitored trails one more time for the 2023 summer season!