Calgary – A new space for Indigenous people to further engage in their unique culture and heritage is open on Stampede Park. Located in the new ENMAX Park, Sweetgrass Lodge has been made possible by a generous investment from the Suncor Energy Foundation to the Calgary Stampede Foundation.
The name ‘Sweetgrass Lodge’ was chosen by tipi holder families following a naming contest that was open to all Treaty 7 First Nations. “We wanted to ensure the name held significance for those using the facility year-round. Braided Sweetgrass demonstrates the perseverance of the Treaty 7 First Nations, which is the basis of the strength and unity of the tipi holders and their families,” says Arlene Strom, vice-president Sustainability & Communications, Suncor. “We have learned a lot from working alongside the Aboriginal peoples in Canada, especially in Alberta, but also know there’s more we can understand. This year-round venue provides all of us a place to gather, celebrate and learn together.”
The facility will also be the new home of Stampede School, a youth education program. The long-term vision is for the Sweetgrass Lodge to become a year-round gathering and resource space for the community.
“We are proud of our heritage and are keen to share our culture and traditions on a year-round basis,” says Cindy Provost, vice chair, Indian Events committee. “Sweetgrass Lodge will be a great place to gather, and it symbolizes a partnership between our Indigenous communities, their families, Suncor and the Calgary Stampede.”
The facility will support an expanded interpreter’s program, which currently runs during the Indian Village Stampede activities. The enhanced program will see the interpreters activated year-round to tell the story of the Treaty 7 First Nations. This program will draw on experiences from Stampede’s Indian Village and build on wise-practice education.
Located a stone’s throw from the Elbow River, the two-story Sweetgrass Lodge features meeting and administrative space, a Bannock Booth, is a warm up space for performers, and a gathering place for tipi holding families. Year-round, the building will be home to Stampede School and used by Indigenous and vision-aligned community groups. Stampede School provides students from Grades 2 to 12 with engaging opportunities to learn first-hand about the Calgary Stampede, Calgary, and Treaty 7 culture and history.
“Sweetgrass Lodge creates a space to celebrate Indigenous culture year-round,” says Steve Allan, chair, Calgary Stampede Foundation. “It recognizes that we walk on a common path and we are all connected to each other and to this land. This path leads us to a common aspiration of creating and nurturing a vibrant community where everyone belongs.”
Indian Village is a space for First Nations educational programs, heritage sharing, cultural practice, and cross-tribal and multi-generational gatherings. It also provides First Nations people with opportunities to learn and practice their culture in a supporting community and in front of an enthusiastic audience. Sweetgrass Lodge builds on this tradition and as a year-round education, programming and cultural space.
Suncor Energy is Canada’s leading integrated energy company. Suncor’s operations include oil sands development and upgrading, conventional and offshore oil and gas production, petroleum refining, and product marketing under the Petro-Canada brand. A member of Dow Jones Sustainability indexes, FTSE4Good and CDP, Suncor is working to responsibly develop petroleum resources while also growing a renewable energy portfolio. Suncor is listed on the UN Global Compact 100 stock index and the Corporate Knights’ Global 100. Suncor’s common shares (symbol: SU) are listed on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges.
About Suncor Energy Foundation
Suncor Energy and the Suncor Energy Foundation (SEF) have a proud history helping build sustainable communities through collaborative partnerships that enhance the quality of life in key operating areas. Over the past 15 years, Suncor and the SEF have invested more than $190 million in charitable and non-profit organizations across Canada and internationally. The SEF is a private, charitable foundation established to receive Suncor’s contributions and support registered Canadian charitable organizations. For more information about Suncor Energy and our community investment program, please visit our website at suncor.com/community.
About the Calgary Stampede Foundation
Since its inception in 1994, the Calgary Stampede Foundation has worked to preserve and promote western traditions, culture and heritage through charitable giving as well as promoting and advancing character-building youth programs. Through their successful “We’re Greatest Together” capital campaign, the Foundation and Calgary Stampede worked with community leaders and philanthropists to develop world class programs and facilities that ensure our western legacy is preserved for future generations. For more information, please visit foundation.calgarystampede.com
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