If you are out exploring mountainous or wooded areas of Alberta and come across strange and curious brightly coloured cloths tied to trees, you have discovered a First Nation’s prayer site. We find these every now and then while out hiking or biking, some in what appears to us to be seemingly odd locations. Of course where ever they are is significant to those who use them.
Each cloth or flag as they may be called only means something specific to the person who placed it, and is typically associated with a blessing or request. They are never taken down and are left to rot to the elements. If the cloths seen are faded, they’ve clearly been there for a while.
These Prayer Cloths are used by many native groups throughout North America. Our example was found in the traditional territory of the Stoney Nation.
This prayer site is located alongside a gas well service road, which we were biking, in the foothills west of Calgary. It’s relatively well hidden even though it’s not that far off the path. It or any others you may come across in your travels should be shown respect much like any other religious or cultural site.
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Date of adventure: September, 2014.
Location: Elbow River area, Kananaskis AB.