Historical Photos from the Stoney Nakoda Nation

Recently, we published a collection of historical photos from the Tsuut’ina Nation. Today we’re back with a follow-up post, but this time we’re featuring the Stoney Nakoda Nation. According to oral tradition, the ancestors of the Stoney people lived in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains from time immemorial. They consider themselves to be the original people of the mountains. Today, the Stoney Nakoda Nation sits within these same foothills, but is much smaller than their traditional lands.

Historical Photos from the Stoney Nakoda Nation
Bearspaw, Stoney Chief on horseback, 1880

Culturally and linguistically, the Stoney Nakoda are closely related to the Plains Annisiboine. They speak the northern dialect of the Dakota language. Historically, neighbouring bands referred to them as ‘Assiniboine’ a name that literally translates to ‘stone people’ or ‘people who cook with stones’.

Historical Photos from the Stoney Nakoda Nation
Amos Big Stoney and family from Stoney reserve, Alberta, 1889

After both Edmonton House and Rocky Mountain House were established, The Stoney Nakoda people were active in trade and became invaluable guides to traders, explorers, surveyors, and missionaries. The Stoney Nakoda Nation is comprised of the Bearspaw, Chiniki, and Wesley First Nations, each of which were present at the negotiations of Treaty 7. Led by Chiefs Jacob Bearspaw, John Chiniki, and Jacob Goodstoney, Treaty 7 was accepted at Blackfoot Crossing in 1877. The original reserve land was established adjacent to the Morleyville Mission in 1879. After years of ongoing negotiations and petitions, the Bighorn and Eden Valley reserves weren’t confirmed until 1948.

Stoney man with wife and child, 1890s

As with many other Indigenous people across Canada, the Stoney Nakoda Nation’s culture has been threatened by the policies and practices of colonialism, including the Indian Act, residential schools, reserves, and the pass system. These acts have had ongoing impacts with Indigenous communities and have resulted in multi-generational trauma for many Indigenous people. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women are examples of the ongoing work of reconciliation in this country.

Two Stoney men wearing beaded shirts, southern Alberta, 1890s
Group of Stoney riders at Morley, Alberta, with leader, Mark Knohay, 1890-1893
Stoney tipi on Bar U ranch, Alberta, 1890s
Teachers and pupils, McDougall orphanage, Morley, Alberta, 1885
Cattle on Stoney reserve, Morley, Alberta, 1890s
Death lodge, Stoney reserve, Morley Alberta, 1890s
Stoney Indian camp at first Banff Indian days, Banff, Alberta, 1890
Two Stoney riders on mountain side, 1900
Chiniki, head chief of the Stoneys, in classroom at Morley mission, Alberta, 1896-1906
Two Stoney men in winter dress, southern Alberta, 1900
Stoney New Year’s Day celebration, southern Alberta, 1900
Stoney hunting party near Pincher Creek, Alberta, 1895
Enos Hunter, Stoney, 1900
Mark Poucette, Stoney, 1900
Group of Stoney people, Rocky Mountain area, Alberta, 1890s
Group of Stoney children at tipi, Morley area, Alberta, 1890s
Mrs. Thomas Chiniki, Stoney, at McDougall orphanage, Morley, Alberta, 1900
Stoney scraping hide on Morley reserve, Alberta, 1900-1903
Camp of Stoney on Cascade River near Banff, Alberta, 1902
Stoney approaching Banff Spring Hotel, Banff, Alberta, 1902
Stoney camp at Shaganappi point, Calgary, Alberta, 1901
Stoney in traditional clothing, Shaganappi Point, Calgary, Alberta, 1901

The photos above were collected from the Glenbow Archives. If you’re interested, additional information can be found for each photograph on the Glenbow website by searching the identification number that is printed on the photo. There is also the option to purchase a high resolution copy. Stay tuned for additional posts featuring historical photos from across Alberta. We’d love to know what you think in the comment section below.

About Tyler Dixon 196 Articles
Tyler is originally from Saskatchewan, and yes he cheers for the Roughriders, but don’t hold that against him as Calgary has been his home for the past eight years. He is a teacher working at a wilderness- based treatment program for youth working to overcome addiction. Tyler is also a volunteer with the GOT Parks initiative, which aims at reconnecting Canada’s youth with our national, provincial, and territorial parks. During his time away from work, Tyler enjoys outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and snowboarding, team sports, travelling, photography, spending time with good friends, and being at home with his wife and German Shepherd, Rome.