March 13, 2024 / Tsuut'ina Culture

Located adjacent to Calgary’s southwest border, Tsuut’ina Nation is home to Taza, an innovative development in partnership between Tsuut’ina Nation and Canderel. This growing community strives to embody Tsuut’ina values and traditions, and is a celebration of their past, present and future. To begin to understand the rich and diverse history of their people, we must first explore the cornerstone of their heritage: their origin story.

In the mid-1700s, our ancestors traversed cold and unrelenting lands across Northern Alberta. As one large group they travelled south, migrating for food, when they came across a large frozen lake. The Chiefs told everyone, “hurry across the ice.” “The ice is thin,” they said.

One woman was crossing with her child on her back, and he began to cry for an object sticking out of the ice. He wanted it for a toy. The woman kept telling him that the Chiefs were hurrying everyone across the ice, but the child kept crying. She relented and released the axe attached to her belt to begin chopping at the object. She cleaved and she hacked, and the object awoke as the horn of the Taslani, a dragon. An angered Tastlani broke through the ice, and the ice split. Many of our people died, and the rest were separated. The Tsuut’ina kept on their path south, while the Dene remained and returned north. If you visit the Xani-tii Guk’a Sidodi (Buffalo Lake, north of Edmonton) today, it is said you can still hear the people crying. — as told by Bruce Starlight (Tsuut’ina Nation - Our Story)

Present day, the Tsuut’ina Nation is located adjacent to the southwest of Calgary. They are proud to remain connected to the Dené Nation through language (Athabaskan), culture, customs and territory, in addition to their own unique identity and traditions. Taza is proud to highlight the Tsuut’ina Nation’s values and way of life, and we encourage you to join us in learning about and celebrating their culture.

Here are 4 ways You Can Explore the Culture and History of the Tsuut'ina Nation:

Plan a visit to the Tsuut’ina Cultural Museum

Located off of Old Agency Road, north of the Shops at Buffalo Run, the new Tsuut'ina Museum has stood as a beacon for the preservation and celebration of the rich cultural history of the Tsuut'ina Nation. As a non-profit entity of the Nation, the museum is dedicated to safeguarding and promoting the invaluable historical archives passed down from Tsuut’ina ancestors. These archives serve as a testament to the enduring legacy of the Nation, providing all generations with a profound opportunity to learn and honour the unique history and culture of the Tsuut’ina people.

Visitors can venture through the museum tour and embark on a journey through time, as it illuminates the history of the original Dené people, including the pivotal moment of the Treaty 7 signing in 1877 by Chief Bullhead (Chiila). Their collection of unique historical artifacts, photographs, and captivating stories offer a poignant glimpse into their remarkable heritage.

The museum also champions authentic First Nation arts and crafts through its thoughtfully curated gift shop where you’ll find locally made clothing, jewelry, decor and moccasins, all meticulously crafted by local artisans. Stop by after your visit to the museum to show your support for these talented local artisans.

Walk-ins are welcome and group rates available by request. Please call 403-238-2677 or visit for more information and hours of operation.

"Bull Head, chief of the Sarcee (Tsuut'ina).", [ca. 1890-1894], (CU1149722) by Ross, Alexander J.. Courtesy of Glenbow Library and Archives Collection, Libraries and Cultural Resources Digital Collections, University of Calgary.

Mural in TD Bank by Nathan Patrick Meguinis

Explore murals and art pieces by Tsuut'ina artists in The Shops at Buffalo Run

Taza’s dedication to revitalizing the Dené language also extends to preserving Tsuut’ina art and culture. Retailers and businesses that join Taza are encouraged to engage local Indigenous artists to incorporate storytelling and create a unique sense of place and connection to the land into their spaces.

Nathan Patrick Meguinis is one of the Tsuut’ina artists responsible for the artwork you can find throughout the community, including impressive murals in TD Bank, KFC and 7 Chiefs Sportsplex & Jim Starlight Centre.

Mural inside of Papa Johns by Josh Littlelight

Tsuut’ina artist Josh Littlelight’s inspiring artwork can also be found throughout Taza, including stunning murals in Papa Johns and Cupboards Express. His pieces help tell the story of the land where Taza resides, and incorporate unique symbolism from the Tsuut’ina Nation.

Celebrate connection to the land

The Tsuut’ina people have a deep connection to the land and follow the principle of extracting only what is necessary and expressing gratitude for what is obtained. Located on Tsuut’ina land, Taza reflects this value through innovative community design and sustainability planning that will serve generations to come.

Taza’s connection to the land is accentuated through the close proximity of two prominent green spaces, Weaselhead Flats and Fish Creek Provincial Park, which is known to the Tsuut’ina as Wolf Creek. Residents and visitors to Taza can easily access these outdoor spaces and nurture their connection with nature.

The Tsuut’ina also regard the intersection of land and water as immensely significant. Currently in the final phase of construction is The Taza Water Reservoir, which will be a vital piece of infrastructure for Taza Park’s water supply. Designed by Zeidler in conjunction with WSP, this reservoir will ensure a reliable potable water source for the expanding community and the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino.

City of Calgary - Weaselhead Flats

Purchase art, textiles and products made by Tsuut’ina Nation members

Buying locally made art and gifts are an important way of supporting and celebrating Tsuut’ina culture. When purchasing, gifting and wearing items made by Indigenous crafters, it’s important to practice cultural appreciation. This is defined as “meaningful and informed engagement that includes acknowledgment and permission”.

Some ways you can ensure you are appreciating (and not appropriating) Indigenous culture includes:

  • Knowing the artisan’s name and Nation
  • Educating yourself on the history and significance of the item
  • Ensuring sale profits support the craftsperson’s and Nation

Clothing available for purchase at the Tsuut’ina Cultural Museum Gift Shop

You can purchase authentically crafted items at the Tsuut’ina Cultural Museum Gift Shop, including clothing, moccasins, jewelry, blankets, soaps and oils and more. This shop helps promote First Nation artists, and is a non-profit entity of the Tsuut’ina Nation.

We’d like to extend our gratitude to the Tsuut'ina Cultural Museum for sharing their wisdom and knowledge, which has enriched the narrative of this blog post. Their dedication to preserving and promoting the cultural history of the Nation has provided us with a deeper understanding of the heritage and traditions of the Tsuut'ina people. We are honoured to have had the opportunity to showcase the museum's insights and contributions, and we look forward to continuing to amplify their important work.

Stay updated on local arts and culture at Taza by following us on social media at @togetherattaza and joining our online community.

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