Tsuutʼina Nation, Alberta: A Rich Tapestry of History and Culture
The Tsuutʼina Nation, also known as Tsu Tʼina, Tsuu Tʼina, Tsúùtínà – "a great number of people", is a First Nation band government located in Alberta, Canada. Formerly known as Sarcee or Sarsi, the Tsuutʼina Nation's territory is now confined to the Tsuu T'ina Nation 145 reserve, adjacent to the southwest city limits of Calgary. The reserve spans 283.14 km2 and had a population of 1,982 according to the 2001 Canadian census.
The Historical Journey of Tsuutʼina Nation, Alberta
The Tsuutʼina are an Athabaskan group, originally part of the Dane-zaa ('Beaver Indians') nation. They migrated south onto the Great Plains during the 1700s, prior to any written records of the area. Tsuutʼina oral history has preserved the memory of their separation from the Dane-zaa. Explorer David Thompson noted that the Tsuutʼina lived in the Beaver Hills near present-day Edmonton during the 1810s, where they cohabited with the Cree. However, they eventually moved further south due to conflicts with the Cree, forming an alliance with the Blackfoot. The Tsuutʼina language is an Athabaskan language, closely related to the languages of the Dene groups of northern Canada and Alaska, and also to those of the Navajo and Apache peoples of the American Southwest.
Tsuutʼina Nation, Alberta in the 21st Century
In 2007, the Tsuutʼina opened the Grey Eagle Casino just outside Calgary city limits. The Grey Eagle complex underwent a major expansion in 2012, which included the construction of a hotel. The proximity of the Nation's territory to the city of Calgary led to disagreements over Alberta's plans to construct the southwest portion of Highway 201, a ring road. The planned freeway, expected to be completed by 2024, will nearly encircle the City of Calgary. A subsequent referendum held by the Nation in 2013 approved the land transfer for the ring road, the Tsuutʼina portion of which was named Tsuutʼina Trail. On 28 August 2020, Costco opened a store at 12905 Buffalo Run Boulevard, in the Shops at Buffalo Run development created by the Nation's development project, Taza. This store is the first Costco branch on a First Nations reserve in Canada.
Honorary Chiefs of Tsuutʼina Nation, Alberta
W. G. Hardy, a professor at the University of Alberta, was given the honorary title of "Chief Running Eagle" by the Tsuutʼina. The Tsuutʼina Nation continues to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to their community.