About Us

Our History

The Stoney Nakoda are the original “peoples of the mountains” known in our Nakoda language as the Iyarhe Nakoda and previously as the Iyethkabi.

Our History

We have continuously used, occupied and possessed our traditional lands since well before contact with the Europeans. Our traditional territory ranged from the Great Plains where we hunted buffalo to the Rocky Mountain foothills and watersheds where we harvested, fished and hunted big game and over the mountain passes to the British Columbia interior.

The Stoney Nakoda Nations (“SNN”) comprised of the Bearspaw First Nation, Chiniki First Nation and Goodstoney First Nation were signatories to Treaty No. 7 made on September 22, 1877 at Blackfoot Crossing.

At present, the Stoney Nakoda live primarily on six reserves; Stoney Indian Reserves #142, #143, #144 at Mini Thni (Morley) located 65 km. west of Calgary on the Trans-Canada Highway between Calgary and Banff; Rabbit Lake Indian Reserve #142B northwest of Mini Thni (Morley); Eden Valley Indian Reserve #216, located 120 km. south of Mini Thni (Morley) near Longview; and the Bighorn Reserve #144A located 265 km. northwest of Mini Thni (Morley) near Nordegg. As of 2021 the population of SNN was approximately 5,397.

Bearspaw, Chiniki and Goodstoney Nation members speak the Stoney Nakoda language, which derives from the Nakoda dialect, part of the Sioux-Assiniboine language family. Stoney Nakoda is our mother tongue and continues to be spoken at meetings of Chief and Council, community meetings, special events and ceremonies.

Throughout Stoney traditional territory, countless geographic landmarks, rivers, mountains, hills, migration trails, valleys and flats all bear longstanding Iyahre Nakoda names – names such as Minnewanka, meaning “sacred waters”, Kiska meaning “big horn sheep” or Îyâ Mnathka meaning “flat faced mountain” known in English as Yamnuska or Mount John Laurie. Places were often named after animals or interesting and well-known or memorable events occurring there. For many of these places, there is more than one Stoney name.

Members of the Stoney Nakoda share the same culture, values and traditions and continue to practice their traditional ceremonies, culture, values and way of life.