MP-0000.158.89 | "Indian Days" event at Banff, AB, about 1925

Photograph, glass lantern slide
"Indian Days" event at Banff, AB, about 1925
Anonyme - Anonymous
About 1925, 20th century
Silver salts and transparent ink on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
8 x 10 cm
Gift of Mr. Stanley G. Triggs
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  annual (2) , architecture (335) , Banff Springs Hotel (3) , commercial (84) , courtyard (1) , crowd (32) , detail (50) , ethnology (19) , event (101) , group (644) , history (162) , horse - rider (98) , hotel (27) , Indian (18) , Photograph (77678) , rider (16) , Stoney (1) , Transportation (2517) , transportation (338) , West (1)
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"Indians at Banff: There are a number of Stoney Indians in the Morley Reservation near Banff, and the annual "Indian Day," consisting of sports, races, etc., held during July, has become one of the most eagerly anticipated events. The picture shows a party of Indians in the courtyard of the Banff Springs Hotel."

Excerpt from "ACROSS CANADA BY C. P. R.", Section 5--The Canadian Rockies; booklet, McGill University Illustrated Lectures, 1928.

Keys to History

By the 1920s, First Nations people on the Prairies had signed the treaties and moved to the reserves, and their children were in the residential schools run by the churches for the government, where many suffered illness and abuse. Now that the government seemed to have settled the "Indian question" , First Nations people could be appreciated for their "colourful" traditions-at least, those that had been approved by the authorities. "Indian Days" at the Banff Springs Hotel was fun for the tourists, who enjoyed the Native clothing and felt a thrill when the mounted "warriors" galloped and whooped. It was a chance for Aboriginal performers to earn some money, and no one saw any harm in it. Forty years earlier, during the Rebellion of 1885, settlers had been terrified of their fathers; now, these Native people were a tourist attraction.

  • What

    This is a photograph of an "Indian Days" celebration, an occasion by which tourists could admire Native clothing and mounted "warriors" up close.

  • Where

    The photograph was taken in front of the Banff Springs Hotel, Banff, Alberta.

  • When

    By 1925, when this picture was taken, the First Nations of the region participated in such events mostly as paid performers, for the benefit of tourists.

  • Who

    The participants are not identified; perhaps they are members of the Blackfoot First Nation.