The genesis of Nihisgaka Ogha– For our Children –
“When I became Chief, it was important to me to open the window in the wall between our nation and our neighbours. Though we have a long history living side by side, we really don’t know each other.
So we felt it important to come together over a meal, to meet and to talk. This has been a huge effort by a committee of Tsuut’ina and our neighbours – I can’t say enough about what a great collaboration this has been and I’m very proud of everyone involved.
Our first dinner was a huge success, as is tonight and I am really glad to be here at the school. Our Council has recently committed to three nation priorities – Economic development and training; education; and wellness.
Over the three dinners of this series, we are welcoming stakeholders and influencers like you from all backgrounds – politics, arts, industry, education, and tonight a number of you from the world of innovation.
The beauty of this series is each night, each dinner, we are all equal. Each and every one of us – whether you are an Elder or a student, a Politician or a CEO, an innovator or a volunteer – each and every one of us can take a step, lend a hand, teach or learn as we embark upon this journey.
We want to find ways to work together, to build together, to create and imagine together. We are open for ideas and for business. We hope that tonight you will meet someone or hear something that will spark a relationship and we ask you to go back to your neighbourhoods and share what you have heard and learned and who you met.
We are all intertwined, braided and bound, like Sweetgrass to forge a new future across different backgrounds and borders – together.
Thank you for being here tonight.”
The Nihisgaka Ogha Dinner Series consisted of a series of three immersive and experiential dinners held on Tsuut’ina lands in Spring of 2018. Each evening, 104 guests were gathered at 13 tables of 8, hosted by the Twelve Band Councillors and the Chief. To create an opportunity for both worlds to come together over a meal, in dialogue, and to build bridges of understanding, each table included an Tsuut’ina Elder, community member and artist; and four Calgary area leaders and influencers (politicians; wellness, recreation and arts stakeholders), including representatives from our three lead sponsors.
The theme that anchored the programming, from the time the invitation is received to follow-up, was the celebration and exploration of wellness, as interpreted and understood from the Tsuut’ina perspective and way of knowing – Nihisgaka Ogha – For Our Children. Each evening began with an exclusive tour of the developments at Tsuut’ina – the Ring Road, the $4.1 Billion Canderel project and the Sportsplex. The evening program began with the opportunity to smudge and guests took home a gift of a smudging rock, sweetgrass and sage. The curated and facilitated dialogue at the table provided an opportunity for all to share about their understanding of wellness and learn the Tsuut’ina way. Topics included sport, exercise, mental health, the importance of community.
Over three dinners, over 150 Calgarians had the unique opportunity to take part in a transformative evening designed to
- teach and learn from each other; dialogue and network
- meet the Nations’ leadership, influencers, Elders and artists
- experience a tour of the lands developments progress
- raise awareness about Tsuut’ina Nation’s vision and development plans for the future
The dinners were held on May 3, 2018 at the Grey Eagle Hotel; May 23, 2018, at Tsuut’ina Nation Chiila Elementary School; and June 13, 2018 at Tsuut’ina High School.