Legend of the Saamis mural in City Hall created by James Marshal. Discover more of James Marshal’s work on page 22
Medicine Hat’s Name Medicine Hat inherited its name from the native word “Saamis” which is loose- ly translated as “medicineman’s hat.”
The Great Spirit told theman to spend the night on the small island (Strathcona) and “in themorning when the sun lights the cut- banks, go to the base of the great cliffs and there you will find a bag containing med- icines and a Saamis (holy bohnet)”. The hat, he was told, was to be worn only in war, and would ensure victory to the wearer. Aided by themagic of his Saamis, the young hunter located themuch-needed game, saved his people, and eventu- ally became a great Medicine Man. Thus, the first “medicine hat”; a symbol of leadership, prowess, andmysticism on the western plains, came into exis- tence. The city which was destined to The Medicine Hat 2020 Experience Guide is produced and printed for free distribution in Canada by TourismMedicine Hat. Tourism Medicine Hat is managed by the Medicine Hat Destination Marketing Organization under contract through the City of Medicine Hat. Partners of TourismMedicine Hat provide information for this guide and every effort is made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of printing. TourismMedicine Hat assumes no responsibility for any unpredict- able errors, changes and/or omissions. Printed in Canada
perpetuate with its name was founded at the location of the ancient legend. In 1883, the Canadian Pacific Railway stopped to build a train bridge across the South Saskatchewan River. With the con- struction, a tent town was born taking the name from the numerous legends. A near- by hill was marked by the name Medicine Hat on a map of the Department of Interior the same year. In the CPR’s search for wa- ter, their drills accidentally struck natural gas west of town, heralding the exploration that mapped out one of the largest gas fields in North America, providing Medicine Hat with its moniker “The Gas City”.
Several legends tell this story, one of which is beautifully depicted in a sculp- tured brick mural at City Hall. The legend tells of a winter with great famine and hardship for the Blackfoot nation. The elders of the Council chose a young man to save his tribe from starvation. After many arduous days hemade his way to the “breathing hole”, an opening in the ice of the South Saskatchewan River believed to be the place of the Great Spirit. The young hunter made camp and summoned the spirits who appeared in the formof a serpent. Medicine Hat Visitor Information @TourismMedicineHat @TourismMedHat @TourismMedicineHat TourismMedicineHat.com 403.527.6422 1.800.481.2822 330 Gehring Road SW Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada Cover Image features mural art by Josh Creighton. See our Downtown Mural page on pages 18 and 19.
Thanks goes out to Boylan Imaging for sharing this graphic they created in re- sponse to Covid-19. TourismMedicine Hat is proud to celebrate this strong sentiment.