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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 25, 1970, Lethbridge, Alberta Writing-On-Stone, A Page Of History -PAGE 17 By URBAN CALLING LOST Blood Indian Reserve Student Ledibridgc Community College Ever since the recording of time began in southern Alber- ta, the petroglyphs carved markings at Writing-on-StOne Provincial Park have held men intrigued as to why they were drawn on the rocks. One can only speculate most likely they were the work of Indian braves on the return from a raid, slopping by to do etchings boasting of their deeds. In the lore of the Blackfoot Nation, however, there is a le- gent fascinating in its romantic- ized form, that tells of the ori- gin of the stone writings. Years ago, an old Indian from the Blood Reserve, who was then the oldest resident of the reserve, told me the follow- ing story: In the old days, whenever a war party of the Bloods, Peigans or the Blackfoot set out to attack an enemy camp the Crow, Sioux or the Chey- enne they would pass by the rocks. Upon reaching the rocks, they would pause to look at the drawings on them, believing them to foretell their war- party's fate. 1 How did they find out then- fate? It was fairly easy once they deciphered the symbols that were used. If for example a brave's name was Running Deer, the symbols for Running Deer were drawn alongside figure that represented Mm on the stones. A decapitated drawn petro- glyph meant that the fortunes of war were to be denied to that brave. However, if the spoils of war such as horses and coups were etched alongside the figure then that meant fate would smile at the brave in this battle. At that time there roamed on the plains a nomadic band of Indians who had all of the characteristics of any plains Indians, except that they were said to possess more powers of the supernatural tban any other tribe. They were called the "holy people" by other tribes. No Licence Required No license is required for a non-resident trailer in Alberta. The overall length permitted for car and trailer is 65 feet. Over- all height, ground up, 1314 feet; overall width, 10 feet. No person shall operate a combination passenger auto- mobile and house trailer that exceeds 50 feet in overall length and eight feet in widUi on any highway in Banff, Jas- per, Waterton, and Elk Island National Parks. The restriction does not apply to that portion of the Trans- Canada Highway which passes through the Banff National Park. Cars Available National and international car rental companies such as Avis, Airways, Budget, Hertz and Tilden operate in Alberta. Services are available at Banff, Brooks, Calgary, Ed- monton, Fort MacMurray, Grande Prairie, High Level, Jasper, Lake Louise, L e t h- bridge, Lloydminster, Medicine Hat, Peace River, Red Deer, Slave Lake, Taber and Water- ton. Now, the word "holy" in this story is not the same as it is in the Bible: in the Blackfoot language it means anything that is supernatural. After tha Indian wars stop- ped, these holy people were never seen or heard from again. Naturally, one will ask why an Indian brave wouldn't turn back if he saw by the on the rocks that his tragic fate was sealed. The answer is that Indians were probably the greatest ex- ponents of existentialism of all time tile very nature of their lives had made them that way. What will be, will be: the commonness of death, the harsh, rugged country com- bined to inure the Indians to the ravages of war, and to dy- ing, so they went into battle regardless of their predicted fates. This is not the first time in history that warriors have sought to know their future for- tunes before battle. The ancient Greeks, for instance, had their oracles. And as this is only a story, it must be remembered that Writing-on-Stone Park itself is testament to the most romantic- ized figure in history the North American Indian. J NATURE'S HANDIWORK IMPRESSIVE SIGHT You're always assured of FRIENDLY, COURTEOUS SERVICE at this sign of quality IMPERIAL CAR DEALER SERVICE and EXTRA GASOLINES Plus a full line of Oils and other Esso products Also famous For all your purchases use your convenient ESSO CREDIT CARD VISIT THESE ESSO STATIONS IN LETHBRIDGE Enjoy your holiday Drive Safely Obey the rules of the road and arrive back home safely. Sunny Esso Service 505 !3th St. N. Phone 327-5224 Spotiite Service Station 3rd Ave. and 8th Si. 5. Phone 327-2970 Eastway Esso Service 3110 1st Ave. S. Phone 328-2896 Skyline Service Station 43rcf Sf. and Coutts Highway Phone 327-5565 ;