The Calgary Stampede is one of the most popular festivals in the world, and it attracts over 1 million visitors annually. The District Agricultural Society hosted the first event in 1888 and since then, it has grown in popularity and has incorporated many shows and performances that attract diverse groups that identify with the Canadian cultural heritage. Some of the values that inspired the Calgary Stampede include hospitality, education, cultural pride, and youth empowerment (Dixon & Read 2010).
One of the vital features of the show is the display of TeePees, which were shelters for the nomadic tribes with the Canadian Prairies and the Great Plains of North America. Although TeePees are largely used for ceremonial purposes in the modern age, they reflect the roots of the Canadian culture (Holley 2012). This paper will evaluate the values which underscore the Calgary Stampede. The paper will also discuss the history of the TeePees to enhance awareness of the rich Canadian heritage.
This is an annual festival, exhibition, and rodeo that Canadians celebrate every July. It attracts over 1 million visitors annually over a 10-day period, and some of the activities that are on display include a midway, parade, rodeo, agricultural competitions, stage shows, and others (Calgary Stampede 2019). The Calgary Stampede began in 1886 after the District Agricultural Society developed the first fair in Calgary. Its goals were to motivate ranchers and farmers to move to western Canada through promoting the town. However, the event has grown and incorporated many events that attract many tourists from across the globe. Currently, the event is marketed as the "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth", and it has incorporated support from multiple stakeholders who identify with the event (Dixon & Read 2010).
Values that Informed the Calgary Stampede
There are various values that inspired the creation of the Calgary Stampede. The first value is cultural pride, and the stampede sought to showcase the culture of Canada, with specific focus on Calgary. The event showcases different attributes of the Canadian culture which include its rodeos, music, arts, parades, agricultural products, and games, among others (Dixon & Read 2010). One of the goals of the Stampede was to create a platform where the cultural diversity of Calgary can be exhibited to the world. Its founders recognized the rich cultural history of Calgary and were inspired to share it with people from different parts of the globe. Currently, over 1 million visitors from diverse regions in the world visit the event and they experience what Calgary has to offer in terms of its cultural heritage. Cultural pride is therefore an important element that informed the development of the Calgary Stampede.
Another value that informed the event is empowerment of the youth. According to the Calgary Stampede Foundation one of the key goals of the event is to use the funds they generate from ticket sales to support youth programs and projects in Southern Alberta and Calgary (Dixon & Read 2010). There are many young people with skills and talents in the arts and business, among other sectors, and the event founders felt that they needed to support these young people to empower them to pursue their dreams and attain their potential in life. Fletcher (2018) explains that the Calgary event generates $150 million yearly, and it spends a large proportion of the funds on youth programs such as the Calgary Stampede Showband, International Youth Livestock Scholarships, Stampede school, and the Young Canadians School of Performing Arts. The stakeholders are passionate towards empowering young people within Calgary and Canada at large, and this is one of the core reasons why they hold the event.
Education is the third value that motivated the founders to create the Calgary Stampede. Besides entertaining people, the event plays a vital role of educating visitors on various issues such as the arts and agriculture. Moreover, the Calgary Foundation runs agricultural programs and provides agricultural education resources to interested parties. For instance, it has previously hosted events that include "Aggie Days", which teach elementary students and teachers about Alberta's agricultural industry. In addition, the Calgary Stampede is open to school children from the region that can use its heritage cattle ranch and the Stampede Park to learn more about a variety of topics relating to western values, heritage and hospitality. These programs and opportunities within the Calgary Stampede are a reflection of the dedication that the event founders hold towards the value of education.
Finally, hospitality also inspired the creation of the Calgary Stampede. In particular, the founders of the event strived to promote tourism within the Calgary region. When the event was formed in 1884, one of its goals was to promote the town. Currently, the Calgary Stampede tourism team performs the role of promoting and selling Calgary as a tourism destination to leisure markets globally. Tourism is an important sector in most countries, as it attracts revenues that are used for development among other purposes. To promote hospitality and tourism, the Mayor of Calgary during the 1950s started a culture of offering the Calgary White Hat to visiting dignitaries (Dixon & Read 2010). The culture is still practiced in modern day and most people view it as the ultimate symbol of hospitality in Calgary. The city has successfully marketed itself as a pillar of hospitality and tourism since 1 million tourists visit the event yearly.
History of the Teepees
Teepees are cone-shaped tents usually made from wooden poles and animal skins. They are the indigenous homes of nomadic tribes from the Canadian Prairies and the Great Plains of North America (Holley 2012). The top of the structure has smoke flaps, and this distinguishes Teepees from other conical tents. These structures are generally used for ceremonial purposes by indigenous communities in modern day and age.
According to the Genealogy Website (2016), the Lakota (Sioux) community invented the Canadian Tepee, and it used buffalo hides. This invention rapidly spread throughout North America by the time the white people arrived. Teepees are popular among many societies in higher latitudes within the northern hemisphere. They are particularly common in north Scandinavia, Siberia, and North America. The Sammi (Lapps) community of Sweden, Norway, Russia, and Finland, built these structures thousands of years ago since reindeers were in plenty and people could use their hides to build Teepees.
Moreover, in North America, Teepees were originally built by the ancestors of the Nakota, Dakota, and Lakota Sioux who lived in the western Ontario Province and the Midwestern United States (Genealogy Website 2016). Both the southern and northern branches of the Sioux were living in circular structures with conical roofs. However, when the Northern Sioux moved into the grass plains of Alberta and Dakota, they faced a shortage in accessing wood, and they had to adapt and follow the great bison migration to acquire hides and skins for use throughout the year (Holley 2012). These circumstances made them develop a form of mobile housing, which was manifested in the creation of the Teepees.
Nevertheless, the Great Plains tribes were not knowledgeable in the art of weaving clothing. However, they later learned the art of curing and sewing together large bison leather sheets, and how to use poles from the Lodge pole pine to build Teepees. They cut and placed the sheets around triangular frames. They used horses to set the frame in place. The tribes developed the TeePees culture for a period until they adopted hunting and quit agriculture. Once they became hunters, they traded smoked meat and skin for agricultural produce they required, and gradually the culture of the TeePees declined. Moreover, the growth of military societies that protected bison-hunting territories also contributed to the decline in the use of the TeePees.
In summary, the Calgary Stampede plays a significant role in showcasing the Canadian culture to the world. It was founded on values that include hospitality, education, cultural pride, and youth empowerment. The event has been successful as it attracts over 1 million visitors annually. It has also supported several programs that empower youth and disseminate knowledge on Canada's rich cultural heritage. Moreover, one of its attractions is the Teepees, which were indigenous homes of Northern American communities. The paper has traced the history of these shelters, and it is clear that they are important elements of the Canadian culture. The stakeholders of the Calvary Stampede should sustain the event so that future generations can learn about Canada and its historical roots and events
Calgary Stampede. About us. Retrieved from www.calgarystampede.com, 2019
Dixon, Joan & Read Tracey. Celebrating the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede. Canmore, Alberta: Altitude Publishing Canada Ltd, 2010
Fletcher Robson. "How the Calgary Stampede makes and spends $150M per year". CBC News. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/calgary-stampede-money-corporate-structure-foundation-1.4735486, 2018
Holley, Linda A. Tipis-Tepees-Teepees: History and Design of the Cloth Tipi. Gibbs-Smith, 2012.
The Calgary Stampede Foundation. Values. Retrieved from https://foundation.calgarystampede.com/about-us/values.html, 2019
Genealogy Website. The Teepee. Retrieved from https://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/the-teepee.htm, 2016
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