Learn about Indigenous connections

Location: Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, Jasper National Park, Alberta
Options for a day trip, overnight stay, or weekend getaway.

Métis people helped form 19th-century alliances between First Nations communities and the Hudson’s Bay and North West companies, longtime competitors during the fur trade. Immerse yourself in the history of daily life at Rocky Mountain House and visit Jasper National Park to star-gaze and learn about Indigenous connections to these lands.

Two Indigenous women teaching beading and leather crafts to two young adults inside the Boat House at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site.

If you’re a day tripper

Your day adventure draws upon what truly makes Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site so personally enriching: the deep imprint left through one-on-one storytelling with the site’s Métis and First Nations interpretive staff. Two favourite learning opportunities include Indigenous Traditional Games, where the site’s interpreters teach essential skills, such as observation, intuition, and hand-eye coordination, and the Dream Catcher Workshop, where you will create your own masterpiece with hoops, feathers and beads.

Two visitors gazing at the Big Dipper stars outside a tipi on a starry night at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site.

If you’re an overnighter

Immerse yourself further into Métis and First Nations history and cultures and learn details about the two companies competing for the fur trade and their Indigenous partners. Participate in the Traditional Games or Dream Catcher Workshop, or make advance reservations for other heritage interpretation programs, such as the Drum and Song demonstration, a fireside experience featuring a local Indigenous drummer and storyteller.

Stay onsite in an authentic Métis Trapper Tent in Rocky Mountain House and sleep soundly in these canvas, wood-framed homes used in settlements or along traplines. Trapper Tents accommodate up to 5 people and includes a double or twin beds, wood floor, table, and chairs. Authentic Tipis and Trapline Cabins are also available on site.

An Indigenous woman picks plants in the forest of Jasper National Park.

If you’re a weekender

Day 1: Choose your favourite experiences at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, including an overnight stay in a trapper tent, tipi, or trapline cabin.

Day 2: Explore Rocky Mountain House’s hiking and biking trails, such as the David Thompson Trail (3.2 km loop), a tranquil, restorative and close to nature hike near the North Saskatchewan River. A must-visit is the Follow the Bison Herd interpretive station where stories of Indigenous Peoples following the movement of bison, and how bison are integral to their cultures and way of life, are shared.

End your day by driving 330 km to the townsite in Jasper National Park and take part in one of two evening programs. Option 1 is a Dark Sky watching experience at the Jasper Planetarium, which includes aspects of Alberta’ Indigenous culture. Option 2, the Wapakwanis Plant Walk, is an enriching evening event by a fire with a knowledge-keeper who shares a deeper understanding of Indigenous life through traditional foods and medicines, as well as story-telling, singing and drumming, and the opportunity to learn beautiful phrases in Cree, and other languages which the Métis may speak.

Day 3: On your final day, consider a visit to the Jasper Yellowhead Museum and Archives, which houses various fur trade-related objects, and other artifacts that help explain historic activity and trade in the area. Sign up for a tour of Maligne Valley and take in the sheer beauty of the sacred place the Stoney Nakoda People refer to as ‘Chaba Imne’ but what the settlers came to call ‘Maligne’ Lake.

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