Scene 11: Saamis Tepee

Overlooking the Saamis Coulee, the world’s tallest tepee stands on the edge of a Blackfoot buffalo jump. The 67 m tall structure overlooks Seven Persons Creek and its Valley System, a mosaic of hills, grasslands, and riparian areas with steep sloping coulees.

A paved trail meanders through the valley around an extensive riparian restoration project, and passes near the Saamis Archaeological Site. An amazing number of prairie birds live in the lush bushes and grasslands along the trail, including singing Western Meadowlarks and grassland sparrows.

A. Indigenous Peoples and the Buffalo

It’s no wonder that Medicine Hat was a sacred meeting and gathering place for the Indigenous people. They could see far and wide to keep track of where the buffalo were, and where other tribes may be approaching. In the coulees fresh water trickled, shrubs with berries grew, and the coulees created shelter for animals. In the valleys they found shelter from the wind. The coulee’s heights near the Medicine Hat College hill was used as a buffalo jump, and below the hill, archaeologists have found boiling pots.

B. Saamis at Night

What an incredible First Nations icon for our City, the Saamis Tepee stands proud, tall and bright, all day and night.

C. Native Legume

Purple Prairie Clover’s roots have an important relationship with soil bacteria. Together they are able to produce a natural, nitrogen fertilizer.

D. Emerald Green

Riparian areas often stay green throughout the summer while the surrounding grasslands turn yellow. They provide many values, services, and benefits including: habitat for fish and wildlife, reliable and clean water supplies, recreational opportunities, and places to connect with nature.

E. Guess who?

These are the seed pods of the showy milkweed, an important plant for feeding and pollinating a variety of butterflies, bees, and other insects such as the Monarch butterfly. The scent of the flowers and nectar are reported to have a stupefying effect on insects.

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