Treaty 7 chiefs to lead this year's Calgary Stampede parade

This isn't a first for the parade: the Treaty 7 chiefs also headed up the annual event in 1989 and 1977.

The last time First Nations leaders were in the forefront of the event was 1989

The Treaty 7 Chiefs will lead this year's Calgary Stampede parade. From left to right: Coun. Floyd Big Head (representing Chief Roy Fox), Lowa Beeba (representing Chief Stanley Grier), Bradford Little Chief (representing Chief Joseph Weasel Child), Chief Darcy Dickson, Chief Lee Crowchild and Chief Aaron Young. Not pictured is Chief Ernest Wesley. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

As Canada celebrates 150 years and reconciliation gains steam in the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Calgary Stampede has announced the chiefs of the Treaty 7 First Nations will lead this year's parade. 

This isn't a first for the parade: the Treaty 7 chiefs also headed up the annual event in 1989 and 1977.

Prior to 1977 there had never been an Indigenous person at the front of the parade. 

This year's marshals are:

  • Chief Roy Fox of the Kainai.
  • Chief Stanley Grier of the Piikani.
  • Chief Joseph Weasel Child of the Siksika.
  • Chief Darcy Dixon of Bearspaw.
  • Chief Ernest Wesley of Wesley.
  • Chief Aaron Young of Chiniki.
  • Chief Lee Crowchild of Tsuu T'ina.

They will join an eclectic list of past marshals, including Walt Disney, Bud Light spokesdog Spuds MacKenzie, a handful of rodeo champs and several prime ministers. 

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he is "super pleased about the choice of the Treaty 7 chiefs as the parade marshals."

"We live in a time of reconciliation and of course, the Stampede has always included First Nations people," he said. "Guy Weadick worked hard to make sure First Nations people were included in the first Stampede in 1912, so it is incredibly appropriate that in this time of reconciliation that we honour our Indigenous neighbours and our Indigenous roots and that we honour this land and our home fires."

Last year, the Stampede unveiled its new Indian Village on the banks of the Elbow River where area First Nations set up teepees, perform powwow dances and offer demonstrations throughout the festivities. 

The Calgary Stampede runs from July 7-16.