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Fort Calgary renamed ‘The Confluence: Historic Site and Parkland’

Fort Calgary has revealed its new name and brand identity: “The Confluence: Historic Site & Parkland.”

The historic site was a meeting place for Indigenous peoples at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers, and remains a place of great significant to Indigenous Peoples.

“Oral histories, written documents and maps show us that this very spot where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet has been a place of rest, trade, celebration and conflict for time immemorial,” said Jennifer Thompson, president of The Confluence.

Blackfoot Elder Leonard Bastien Weasel Traveller transferred the name I’táámito’táaattsiiyio’pi to the organization in a ceremony held on Thursday.

I’táámito’táaattsiiyio’pi means “harmonious meeting place” and recognizes that the land of The Confluence has a sacred and deep meaning.

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“The Confluence speaks of two rivers coming together,” Bastien Weasel Traveller said. “It represents a new way of engaging to move forward in ways that are mutually beneficial to the community of Calgary and the Indigenous community.”

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The new vision is meant to broaden the attraction’s narrative to represent many histories, including those of Indigenous Peoples, settlers, the North-West Mounted Police, newcomers and the land itself.

“The Confluence is about the coming together of separate entities, identities and histories,” said Thompson.

“The stories of this land are complex. That’s why we engaged Indigenous Peoples, Calgarians, partners, the RCMP, and other key audiences to gather knowledge and perspective. We heard that telling a broader cross-section of history about The Confluence and advancing Truth and Reconciliation was important.”

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The entire 40-acre site will undergo changes, with a new indoor space for Indigenous gathering and ceremony. Outdoor landscaping will establish a connection to the future site of a Residential School Memorial.

“This parkland and diverse programming that is going to be offered here makes it a space for everyone to engage and everyone to gather, for people to be able to share their stories and also learn about the complex, very difficult and sometimes painful histories that must continue to be daylighted in our city,” Mayor Jyoti Gondek said.

Inside the site, the exhibits in the interpretive centre will also see changes. All five of the Treaty 7 First Nations will have their stories highlighted, with a new Blackfoot exhibit expected by the end of the year.

“The exhibit invites visitors into the Ki’pait’apiiyssinnooni Lodge where they will journey through this interactive dynamic exhibit, learning and experiencing Blackfoot culture and history,” curator Star Crop Eared Wolf said.

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