16:00 — 17:30

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Join Mary-Beth Laviolette in conversation with author and professor Dr. Courtney Mason of Thompson University (Kamloops, BC) and Tony Snow, our Associate Curator of Indigenous Cultural Content, about the book “Spirits of The Rockies: Reasserting an Indigenous Presence in Banff National Park”.


As we travel along the TransCanada towards the towering terrain of the Rockies, how many of us are aware this iconic highway cuts right through the Stoney Nakoda reserve? The Banff-Bow Valley is the heart of spiritual and economic life for the Nakoda people. Beginning with the Treaty 7 agreement (1877), the Nakoda were displaced from the region by the reserve system and the creation of Canada’s first national park. In Spirits of the Rockies, Courtney W. Mason explores the history and cultural heritage of the Stoney Nakoda as they reasserted their presence in the 20th century becoming involved in local tourism economies and the Banff Indian Days summer sporting festivals. Based on oral histories with Nakoda Elders and written with the guidance of Nakoda artist and elder activist, Rolland Rollinmud and Nakoda Nation research director, Ian A.L. Getty, the book tackles the publicly little known history of these Indigenous peoples and their relationship with the Banff-Bow Valley.

Purchase the book through the Canmore Museum Online Shop.


Dr. Courtney Mason is a Professor and Canada Research Chair (renewed in 2020) in Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Communities. He is cross appointed between Natural Resource Science and the Tourism Management Department at Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia.

Courtney completed his PhD at the University of Alberta where he investigated the displacement of Indigenous peoples in the formation of Banff National Park.  Along with the history of educational institutions on the Nakoda reserve at Morley, his dissertation focused on colonial power relations and the experiences of Nakoda peoples in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. He worked as a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow with the Indigenous Health Research Group at the University of Ottawa where he contributed to community-based food security and health programs in rural Northern Ontario (Oji-Cree) and the Northwest Territories (Dene and Métis).

His current research examines rural and Indigenous land use development with a focus on tourism economies and protected area management. He is also interested in rural food security, sport fishing tourism, conservation practices and environmental change. He is the author of Spirits of the Rockies: Reasserting an Indigenous Presence in Banff National Park (U of Toronto Press, 2014) and the co-editor of A Land Not Forgotten: Indigenous Food Security and Land-Based Practices in Northern Ontario (U of Manitoba Press, 2017).  His research program is funded by SSHRC, CIHR, the Canadian Mountain Network and BC Parks. He is a SSHRC Leaders representative.

In his spare time you will find him fly fishing on local rivers and stillwater, skiing and hiking with his young family in the Kamloops region and throughout BC.


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September 15
16:00 - 17:30
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Canmore Museum
(403) 678-2462
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