One year after a Blackfoot painted lodge was brought to Okotoks, the town did something it has never done before. 

As part of the Tipi Camp and Indigenous Artisan Market held last weekend, a council meeting took place inside one of the tipis on Saturday morning.  

That special tipi was transferred to the Town of Okotoks by four Blackfoot Elders at Laudan Park during a momentous ceremony on June 3, 2023.  

Mayor Tanya Thorn said the presence of the tipi is to encourage conservation, dialogue, and create discussions on Indigenous history and the path forward for the town. 

Part of that path included the council meeting and pipe ceremony in the tipi which Thorn said allowed Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents to incorporate their different systems and ways of life. 

“The full intent of that was to weave together our written system...and combine that in with an oral system of discussion that is prominent in Indigenous societies,” she said. 

As June is National Indigenous History Month, Thorn said having the tipis and celebrations over the weekend was a crucial part of ensuring the town remains an inclusive and welcoming community. 

“I think this was an opportunity to showcase that and for me that's a big step forward. We heard lots of really positive comments from our community, from indigenous peoples that live in our community...this is the first time they feel that they are seeing their history highlighted and celebrated and showcased,” she said. 

Other events are taking place in Okotoks for Indigenous History Month including Exploring Blackfoot Art History with Jared Tailfeathers at the Okotoks Museum on June 5th and a Blanket Exercise at the Foothills Centennial Centre on June 12th.