Opening of the Tsuut’ina trail marked by smile and celebration, but also pain

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A 12-kilometer stretch of the southwest ring road opened today, marking a milestone in the massive infrastructure project that will eventually encircle much of Calgary, but the celebration and smiles were interrupted by a man whose family lost their land.The section of highway, called the Tsuut’ina Trail, crosses the First Nation of the same name between Fish Creek Boulevard and Sarcee Trail.

Premier Jason Kenney, Transport Minister Ric McIver, Tsuut’ina Chief Roy Whitney and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi took turns at the microphone to celebrate the opening of the stretch of road and the economic benefits it will bring .

“It fits the bigger picture of using taxpayer dollars to get people back to work right now,” Kenney said of the $ 1.4 billion segment of the highway.

The Tsuut’ina have invested heavily to profit from the highway, building new developments, including a Costco that anchors a major commercial project known as Tazza.

Whitney said that approving the route across her country was a difficult task, but it was done with the next generations in mind and an “opportunity to move forward”.

However, not all shared this point of view.

‘Today is not a good day’

The photo ops were interrupted by Seth Cardinal Dodgehorse, who stepped onto the podium to express his anger at the pavement and share his family story.

He was allowed to speak at length.

  • Watch his full statement in the video below

Seth Cardinal Dodgehorse says his family has been greatly affected by the ring road after being forced to leave their land. He cut his braids to “leave a piece of me in this road”. 10:11

“Today is not a good day,” he said. “I woke up this morning to see my mother cry when she heard that this road was going to open.

Dodgehorse said his family lived in the middle of the road, knew the trails and trees which are now replaced with asphalt. He said his family was ignored by the nation and had not received support.

“You cannot build prosperity and you cannot build relationships when you erase the women who have come from this land,” he said.

‘No time or place’

Dodgehorse said he will work to make sure his family history is not forgotten and urged those gathered to listen to him.

He then cut one braid of her long hair, then the other.

“With that, I leave a piece of me with the road,” Dodgehorse said. “Thank you for allowing me to share my story. ”

Asked what Dodgehorse had to say, the visibly upset Whitney said nearly 80% of the nation voted in favor of the deal.

“It was a community decision, and as our elders would say – and I am an elder now, so I can say it – there is a time and a place for it and it is neither the time nor the place.

McIver said the rest of the Southwest Ring Road is expected to open next year.

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