Treaty Seven Chiefs were named the 2012 Honourary Parade Marshals when the Stampede celebrated its Centennial in July. Parade Marshal Ian Tyson was joined by the seven leaders from the Treaty 7 First Nations: Treaty 7 Grand Chief Charles Weasel Head (Kainai); Chief Fred Rabbit Carrier (Siksika); Chief Gayle Strikes With A Gun (Piikani); Chief Sandford Big Plume (Tsuu T’ina); and from the Stoney Nakoda Nations; Chief Bruce Labelle (Chiniki), Chief Ernest Wesley (Wesley) and Chief Darcy Dixon (Bearspaw).
Chief Weaselhead said the Chiefs were very proud to accept the role as Honorary Parade Marshals. “It is always exciting to have such a significant role in the Annual Stampede to celebrate our culture and heritage; and to welcome the world to Blackfoot/Treaty 7 Territory. I believe the past informs the future, and we look forward to being a part of building a lasting future and to continually build upon our relationships and partnerships in mutual trust and respect."
Most of the Chiefs donned specially sewn Treaty Suits during the Centennial events. In 1877, the Treaty Suits were deemed by Her Majesty as "suitable clothing" outlined in the Articles of Treaty No. 7. The Treaty Suit was a significant part of Treaty No. 7 that informs responsibilities for Head Chiefs, Minor Chiefs or Councilors. Prior to Treaty No. 7, the Head Chiefs and Minor Chiefs already earned respect and trust, revered and chosen by their war deeds and society memberships.
When the Queen's representatives came to Treaty 7 Territories, they brought gifts in respect of Head Chiefs and Minor Chiefs. Oral history speaks to the gifting of Military (Police) suits by Commissioners and the Royal North West Mounted Police in keeping with traditional protocol and respect. The Treaty Suit was given in respect - for the position the Head Chiefs and Minor Chiefs held among the People - and were sometimes referred to as police suits.
The significance of the colors and design of the Head Chiefs suit followed those of the Mounted Police, Lieutenant Governors and Governor General, who have the gold braid along the outside of the trousers and on the tunic. The Minor Chiefs had red braid markings on the pants and coat.
The wearing of the Treaty Suit today is in keeping with the authority still held by the Chiefs and the duty of keeping peace amongst his people and all who come into Blackfoot/Treaty 7 Territory.