The Banff Indian Days discussion


The Banff Indian Days were events specifically held first in the 19th century to entertain tourists who were confined by floods in Banff. The incident remained an attraction site for tourists until 1978. Indians were the local inhabitants of the Banff, and they provided entertainment to the tourists. Although the actual Indians cordially accepted the annual event, a community that covered the Rocky Mountains, the StoneyNakoda stood to overthrow it, rendering its meaningless and of less importance. Despite much control by the park administrators and the white organizers of the event, StoneyNakoda aimed to take the game to their advantage.Indians actively came out to show their real way of living over a hundred years ago to the tourists.

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The Banff Indian Days did not explain why the organizers of the event were the same people who stood against hunting in the park. However, the game is acknowledged as it generated revenue from visiting tourists, which changed the Banff economy despite strict restrictions placed by the organizers on how to utilize the funds collected from the tourists. The aboriginals were restricted because the organizers thought that given the opportunity, they would go crazy and wild interfering with the natural state of the park. Despite being limited, the aboriginals were much significant in attracting tourists to the national park. Seeing the Aboriginals in their natural geographical context was deemed a great opportunity by the tourists, and this was the primary reason for the tourist visits.

Significance of the Banff Indian Days in providing a context and “place” for the StoneyNakoda and other aboriginals to be subjected to racist stereotyping despite their agency in the event

Nature and culture, as a significant theme in the Banff Indian Days, brought some racial issues(“Banff Indian Days Affirmed Stereotypes, Reinforced Culture”). Some of the racial pictures in the event included the following;The event deploys the Indians as a separate race. Indian race were the aboriginals of the Banff, and their geographical location was so isolated and independent from other people. Some articles on the Banff Indian Days argue that the place was isolated, and tourists could only reach there through railways. Notwithstanding, the Indian natives were the primary source of attraction and therefore deserved an equal chance in the management of the landmark event and division of revenue collected from tourists.

The inferiority of the Indian racewas quite evident in the Banff Indian Days. The inability was apparent in the way the event organizers could restrict the aboriginals from the national park claiming that they were not capable of conserving nature. The argument by the white organizers of the event that the aboriginals could go wild from their crazy devotion in entertaining the tourists and end up destroying and interfering with the natural state of the park was enough to show the inferiority of Indians in managing and conserving the nature.

Whites managed and organized the event, despite Indians being the main actors of the game. This gave the impression that Indians were too local and unable to coordinate themselves. It gave white organizers much organizational and managerial ability over the aboriginals. The organizers of the Banff Indian Days event exercised much power over the Indians by biasedly regulating the


The use of Indians as a source of entertainment to the white tourists portrayed Indians culture as being funny. Further, restrictions imposed on the use of the earned white dollars also bring an issue of racial limitation.

The criticism of the Banff Indian Days by the Nakoda was a way to save the Indian race, although the white organizers were much against it. Nakoda knew that the event aimed to demoralize the Indian culture and exploit them, thus making them work hard to stop the activity. The Nakoda seemed to end Canada’s assimilation efforts.It was an expectation by the white organizers that the StoneyNakoda people would open their teepees and have a pose with the tourists. This act shows that the Banff Indian Days were a place for the moral misuse of the Indians.

The concept of “manageable Indian” was evident in the Banff Indian Days. The white organizers ordered Indians to act and portray their culture to behave like goods at the exhibition. The whites considered themselves more civilized and could not want anyone to behave like they were getting civilized. Those who displayed some modernity, such as wearing white men’s garments, were denied access to the Banff Indian Days event(Clapperton). The restriction of the Canadian government on hunting and other cultural practices aimed to shut up the Indian culture, which was a form of racism. The conversion of national parks to areas of entertainment limited the traditions of the aboriginals, although they were times allowed to perform their culture under strict rules.



Personal understanding of the relevance of the setting up of the Banff Indian Days event in a national park

            I believe the choice of the national park as a place for the Banff Indian Days event considered cultural, physical, or environmental and, to some extent, political factors.Culturally, the park was recognized by the Indians as a place where they would exercise their traditions and also obtain their daily living. According to the white government, the aboriginals hampered the resources in the park.Thus itled to the institutionalization of measures to conserve the park. The Banff Indian Days events discouraged and limited the Indian interaction with the park.

The physical or environmental factorsbehind the setting up of the event in the park could bea matter of saving the natural resources from over-exploitation by the aboriginals. Overexploitation of natural resources was the reason why the event organizers limited the interaction of the aboriginals with the park resources.Finally, politics could have played a role in setting up the event in the park. The white government could not be willing to expose the local aboriginals to modernity outside the wilderness.


In conclusion, the Banff Indian Days is a clear picture of contemporary America,which indeed explains the challenges the original inhabitants of America had to endure in the hands of their white counterparts.  The whites who had assumed control over running and management of critical installations worked hard in ensuring they got rid of Indians from America. The whites considered themselves civilized and thus viewed the Aboriginals and other Indians natives as naïve and inferior.Civilization reached earlier to the whites than to Indians,and that was the reason why Indians could not withstand the tricks and efforts to move them out of America.






















Works Cited

“Banff Indian Days Affirmed Stereotypes, Reinforced Culture.”Rmotoday.Com, 2020, com/local-news/banff-indian-days-affirmed-stereotypes-reinforced-culture-1565423“>

Clapperton, Jonathan. “Naturalizing Race Relations: Conservation, Colonialism, and Spectacle at the Banff Indian Days.”Canadian Historical Review, vol 94, no. 3, 2013, pp. 349-379. University of Toronto Press Inc. (Utpress), doi:10.3138/chr.1188.





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