There are several ways to learn about Alberta’s Indigenous heritage and culture: dining at one of our Indigenous-owned restaurants, an afternoon of shopping and art gallery browsing, or through immersive, exciting, and educational opportunities.
Museums & Historical Sites
1. Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park/ Áísínai’pi
This sacred location about 100 km southeast of Lethbridge, is home to ancient native art, hoodoos, steep sandstone cliffs and according to some, powerful spirits. Your visit to this unique location offers a chance to see pictographs and petroglyphs, including a detailed battle scene, that is more than 3,000 years old. Join for a guided tour into the Archaeological Preserve where the and learn about the history and the meaning of the petroglyphs and pictographs.
Where: NW 36 TW1 range 13, Milk River
2. Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park
Tour the Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park with an experienced guide who takes you through hundreds of years of Blackfoot history and culture. You can currently book a tour of the Historical Park in advance.
Where: Siksika, AB; Phone: 403-734-4423
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3. Buffalo Rock Tipi Camp: First Nation Cultural Experience
Buffalo Rock can guarantee you fun and learning during your stay at their authentic tipi camp. You’ll get the chance to partake in guided hikes, ceremonies led by the Blackfoot elders, and storytelling. They are located on the shores of the Old Man River with exceptional views, and stargazing opportunities.
Where: Located in Siksika Nation; 403-734-4423/403-734-5171; firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Majorville Cairn and Medicine Wheel
This fantastic site marks a ceremonial site of the Blackfoot peoples, and archeologists have found that this particular site has been used for more than 4,500 years. The wheel consists of a central cairn, 28 spokes and an outer ring of stones. A significant number of artifacts have been found here over the years, including evidence of teepee ring sites nearby. This site is still considered sacred, so please respect it when visiting.
5. Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site
There are several educational Indigenous programs to experience with your family at this historic site. Interpretive programs include Bannock-making, a tools and weapons tutorial, blacksmithing, capote-making, a dream catcher workshop, Drum and Song, Hides to Heels – Moccasin-making, Metis crafts, and traditional games.
Where: Site 127 Comp 6 RR4, Rocky Mountain House
6. Metis Crossing
South of Smoky Lake is a culturally and historically prominent area that was home to fur trades, indigenous settlements, rail travel, wagon travel, and more. The Metis Crossing Interpretive Centre is a celebration of the Metis history of the region and offers some immersive experiences as well as overnight camping.
Where: 17339 Victoria Trail, Smoky Lake
7. Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
The Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is a UNESCO World Heritage Site honouring and preserving the area’s fascinating 6000-year old Plains Buffalo culture. This site features one of the oldest and best-preserved sites for communal hunting and bison jumps. Visit the fascinating interpretive center featuring many archeological finds in the area. There are also several self-guided walking trails and picnic sites. Join Blackfoot guides on a guided tour through the building during select days.
Where: 15 minutes from Fort Macleod.
8. Buffalo Nations Museum
Experience the Rockies as they were before the arrival of European settlers and take in the culture of First Nations people from all across North America with Buffalo Nations. The Museum showcases how people lived off and with the land to survive.
Where: 1 Birch Ave., Banff; (403) 762-2388
9. Tsuut’ina Nation Culture/Museum
You can drop in to see the exhibits, or you can book to get a guided tour of the Tsuut’ina Nation Museum. The display cases contain items like authentic headdresses, small clothing and accessories, old photographs, and other pieces of Indigenous culture and history. They also have a craft store and gift shop to see on your way out!
Where: 62 Old Agency Road, Tsuut’ina Nation; Phone: 403-238-2677
10. Paahtómahksikimi Cultural Centre
During a visit to Waterton Lakes or the National Park, you can learn about the meaning of the great lakes to the Blackfoot people. The Cultural Centre is home to numerous weekly activities like elder storytelling, plant workshops, and dance demonstrations, as well as an artisan craft store.
Where: 117 Waterton Ave, Waterton Park
11. Lac La Biche Canadian Native Friendship Centre
The Canadian Native Friendship Centre does important work in supporting the surrounding Indigenous community while also offering a place to visit, learn, shop, and take in the Metis and Cree cultures. Their Indigenous Spirit Creations store is filled with crafts and handmade goods like clothing, accessories, art, décor, and more- all made by local Indigenous artists and artisans.
Where: 10105 Churchill Drive, Lac La Biche
Guided Tours & Other Indigenous Experiences
1. Hideaway Adventure Grounds
Enjoy a weekend of rustic camping together in Hideaway’s canvas wall and tipi tents! The adventure packages offered here include a two-night stay in either type of tent, and your choice of activities: choose from Like Skills, Plant Knowledge, Leather Creations, Indigenous Awareness Education, or their special zombie-themed Halloween experience, offered only in October.
Where: Located half-hour south of Lac La Biche on AB-36; (780) 623-8885
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2. Many Chief Tours
Experience Calgary with an experienced First Nations guide, and tour all the rich culture and history of some significant locations in the city and Southern Alberta. Enjoy an ecotourism experience that includes the Mohkinstsis Tour, the Siksikaitsitapi Medicine Wheel Tour, and Banff Indigenous Walking Tours.
Where: St. Patrick’s Island, Calgary; (403) 966-9798
3. Buffalo Stone Woman Indigescape Tours
Take an adventurous hike through the most beautiful parts of the Rockies with someone who knows the lay of the land. The Indigescape tours are led by Heather Black, an experienced hiker who grew up getting to know the area through her own adventures. Hiking tours include Troll Falls, the Blackshale Suspension Bridge, Elbow Lake, Grassi Lake, Prairie View Trail, and Barrier Dam Trail.
Where: Kananaskis Country
4. Rural Rivers
Not only is this a great place to bring kids for some outdoor adventure, the Indigenous-owned and operated Rural Rivers offers FREE kayak and canoe rentals to Indigenous youth under 25 years old. The Riel Recreation Park route is near St. Albert and is a great way for kids to learn.
Where: 26105 Meadowview Drive, Sturgeon County
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5. Talking Rock Tours
There are a huge variety and number of tours offered by Talking Rock which all teach and educate. See the badlands from the eyes of early explorers and through activities practiced by the area’s Indigenous. Discover the geology of Alberta’s Oil Boom. Or take a shorter adventure through Edmonton’s River valley, learn the sacredness of the area, and partake in a traditional sharing circle. There are many more adventures to choose from, with different time commitments, pricing, and locations around central Alberta.
Contact: 780 298 7992; email@example.com
6. Painted Warriors
Take your pick from different weekend adventure getaways from Painted Warriors like glamping, horseback riding, archery, or their Stories of the Forest. Each adventure is unique and offer different culinary and educational opportunities. The experiences bring you through different teachings and cultural practices of Cree, Ojibway, and Mohawk peoples.
Where: Painted Warriors Ranch, Mountain View County; 403-637-9138
7. Kodiak Herbal Health & Education
There are several workshops and classes offered at Kodiak, led by Kalyn Kodiak, a Metis herbalist & teacher. Kodiak can take you through a variety of traditional activities which focus on Metis culture and heritage. The live workshops specifically focus on culture, art, medicine, and plantwalks.
8. Zucmin Guiding
The guided interpretive hiking tours offered at Zucmin provide adventure all around western Canada. The Alberta tours include Banff National Park and Kootenay National Park and get you learning about all the beautiful land which surrounds you. Your experienced guide, Tim Patterson, is Wilderness First Aid certified and has spent over 30 years hiking the trails (or creating his own) around western North America.
Where: #107 700-8th Ave SW Calgary
9. Jasper Tour Company
Take a mountain tour any time of year through the Jasper Tour Company. Your experienced guide, Joe Urie, can bring you to beautiful locations like the Maligne Valley, the Athabasca Valley, or great spots to see winter wildlife. The Jasper Tour Company aim to keep tour sizes small to ensure you can see all there is to see.
Contact: (780) 852-7070; firstname.lastname@example.org
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10. Mahikan Trails
There are hikes to walk, crafts to be made, and plants to learn about through Mahikan. Their Summer Walks program focuses on plants found in the Boreal Forest and the Cree medicines made from them. And a more hands-on afternoon can come from the Make Your own Medicine Workshop where you can apply everything you learned on your walk!
Where: 82 Grotto Way, Canmore; (403) 679-8379
11. Warrior Women
Enjoy a weekend away with some of the special women in your life and learn in the process. Learn from Indigenous women about the plants and wildlife of Jasper NP, the medicines traditionally made from the plants, or partake in their Fireside Chat with conversation, drumming, and singing.
Where: Jasper National Park; 780 712 3358; email@example.com
12. Grace of Euphoria Wellness
For a relaxing experience, let Grace of Euphoria pamper you with healing and massages, including pre and post natal massages. The wellness studio is actively involved in the Clive community and often run workshops on different aspects of Indigenous culture.
Where: 4824 50th St., Clive
13. Wase Saba Experiences
These experiences are offered by Sissy Thiessen, an experienced cultural facilitator, and talented Jingle Dress dancer. Her services aim to educate people on Indigenous history, culture, and issues, and you can book these services through a variety of her workshops. These include Powwow Dance Performance & Instruction; The Blanket Exercise for teaching cultural awareness; Cultural Crafts such as beading, medicine bags, or dreamcatchers; Traditional Games, or Spoken Word (she is also an accomplished creative writer!).
Where: Edmonton; Contact
14. Winifred Lake Outfitters
Experience the great outdoors with two guides who love and live for the great outdoors. Their authentic packages centre around fishing, trapping, and hunting, with some running year-round. They also offer log cabins for your accommodations with access to a large community firepit. You could stop by for the day to fish as well, and rent one of their many boats or bring your own for a $40 boat launch fee.
Where: Lac La Biche; 780-404-3213; firstname.lastname@example.org
15. Drift out West Fly Fishing
Have you ever dreamed of making your big catch in the scenic rivers of the Rocky Mountains? Drift Out West and their experienced guide, Quinn Soonias, can assist in making it a reality by taking you on guided fly-fishing expeditions down the Bow River. They offer full-day, half-day, and wading expeditions.
Contact: 403-827-5876; email@example.com
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16. Transformation Fine Art
This art gallery can be found in Calgary and Toronto and is operated by Sophia Lebessis. She is the first Inuit female in Canada to own an art gallery, and she has dedicated her spaces to showcasing and exhibiting beautiful Inuit art from across Canada. The Calgary Gallery can be visited by appointment only.
Where: #202 815 1st St. SW; (403) 615 – 2038
17. ReSkilled Life
There is a plethora of knowledge to gain or regain from ReSkilled Life. Whether you are looking to learn about another culture, or more about your own, ReSkilled can supply knowledge on topics like holistic or plant-based medicines, crafting soaps and body products, Metis beading, Brain Tanning hides, or stay focused on the food: there are tutorials and workshops based on raising animals, gardens, foraging, and hunting.
Where: Rochester; (780) 206-7822