Our Mission and Objectives
The objectives of the existing Ninastako Cultural Centre are as follows:
- Revive and develop traditional and contemporary cultural skills of Native people
- Conduct and/or facilitate research ion Native heritage and culture
- Increase Native people’s knowledge and use of their traditional language
- Develop Native learning linguistic resources
- Develop and test cultural-oriented educational curricula, methods and materials for use by other programs
- Promote cross-cultural awareness in mainstream education programs and institutions
- Develop and increase access to new and more accurate information about Native heritage
- Improve the opportunities for the public to become knowledgeable and sensitive to the historical and current role of Native people in Canada
Since 1969, Ninastako Cultural Centre (NCC) has demonstrated established programs, with the majority of funding coming through the Indian Education Centre’s Program (Ottawa), now under the umbrella of First Nations’ Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres (FNCCEC).
- Ninastako was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1974, and its operation relies heavily on input from the 5-member Board of Directors.
- Ninastako began its existence in the lower Standoff “old school” teaching and then moved to St. Mary’s High School, where it offered upgrading courses and Blackfoot language instruction (really the beginning of post-secondary education on the Blood Reserve), then in the St. Paul’s Residential School (until its condemnation) and now, in the Shot-Both-Sides building
- An active member of the FNCCEC, the mission statement of the Ninastako Cultural Centre is to lead in the protection, preservation, promotion and strengthening of our First Nations’ cultures, heritages, wellness and language by ensuring necessary resources, support and strategies
- Cross-cultural programming includes elders/telling stories and legends; cultural sessions in the schools and communities (i.e., dancing and drumming demonstrations); cultural camps and hosting cultural activities (i.e., Kainai Annual Indian Days)
- Preservation of the Blackfoot language is achieved through Blackfoot language instruction and Blackfoot scholarships offered in nearby high schools, both on and off the Reserve
- When it had more space, Ninastako has served as a museum and library (housing many archives, artifacts and First Nations’ art) for anyone wanting more information about the Blackfoot culture
- For almost 20 years, Ninastako has been lobbying with Chief and Council for a new facility, which would allow for ongoing and additional cross-cultural programming
- In January, 2009, Chief and Council approved the funds for a Feasibility Study for a centre. The Feasibility Study was completed and presented to Chief and Council. Plans are underway to confirm the site and access funding from a variety of sources.
History of our name
Chief Mountain, or Ninastako, is a prominent geographic feature which encompasses cultural and spiritual significance for the Blackfoot. The proposed First Nations’ cultural centre, named Ninastako Cultural Centre, will preserve the Blackfoot culture and promote cross-cultural awareness by capitalizing on traditional storytelling. The stories will be shared from the pinnacle view of Ninastako, sharing the lives of the Blackfoot in and around southern AB as they roamed the prairies and adapted to the introduction of settlers, horses, firearms, the railway, and eventually, the changes to their lifestyle with the depletion of the buffalo and the introduction of reserves.
The First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres is a non-profit, national organization representing a unified voice that leads in the promotion, protection, revitalization and maintenance of First Nations languages, cultures and traditions as given by the Creator.
FNCCEC is comprised of 55 Cultural Education Centres that reflect the cultural diversity of more than three hundred First Nation communities across Canada.
The organization was incorporated in 1994 and is represented by a national Board of Governors with the board members duly appointed by their respective regions and territory. Cultural Education Centres are grassroots driven and are fundamental in developing and delivering language and cultural programs to their respective communities.
Collectively, the FNCCEC remains steadfast and committed to our visions in having our languages recognized and honoured with the status as first languages of this country, and that this status is respected among all people and for all generations; our respect for and connection to the land and
and Creation is celebrated; our ceremonies are practiced by our people of our nations; the leadership and structures of our nations and communities are based upon the traditions and values of our people; and, all of our people take responsibility to actively participate in the affairs of our nations.
Board of Directors
Lance Tail Feathers
Chief and Council Liaison
Delphine Good Striker
Sheldon Day Chief
Ninastako Learning Resources Now Available
The Ninastako Blackfoot App!
- Conversational Blackfoot. Learn basic Blackfoot through words, phrases and audio
- Blackfoot Surnames. Learn the history and meanings of Blackfoot surnames. Audio pronunciation included
- Pow Wow Trail. Learn when and where the pow wows are being held
- Blackfoot Challenge. See how many Blackfoot words you know through our quiz and much more…
Ninastako Blackfoot Language Resources
A perfect introduction to the Blackfoot Language
- Learn hundreds of Blackfoot words and phrases with the Conversational Blackfoot
- Read and listen to Blackfoot legends (English text, Blackfoot text and Blackfoot voice over)
- Test your knowledge with the Blackfoot Challenge
- Download lesson plans for the Blackfoot legends (perfect for teachers)
- Watch for new material updated regularly
- All memberships are good for 1 year (unlimited access and downloads)