Our Future, Our Past: How Stones Restaurant Came to Be
Our story starts not at the opening of our restaurant, Stones, but long ago in the time of our ancestors. Their ways of cooking were different back then. Without bowls, they learned to cook using the resources available from the land.
“In order to make broth a fire was first made, and some round stones placed in the fire so that they would become very hot. Nearby, a small hollow was dug into the ground and lined with rawhide to form a bowl. Food, such as pieces of meat and vegetables, was placed in the bowl and water added, the hot stones were then taken from the fire and placed into the broth to cook it. The stones would not burn holes into the rawhide, but only make the water very hot.”
– Stoney History Notes: Chief John Chiniki, Chiniki Band, Stoney Indians., 1983.
We no longer cook that way, but the lessons they gave to us remain important parts of our lives. We honour them as the inspiration behind Stones Restaurant. We continue to enjoy good food. Mother Earth has provided for us and over the centuries, we have hunted and gathered from her lands. We pay tribute to her generosity by continuing to have bison, elk and venison on our menu. Our chefs get our ingredients from local farmers and producers, and stay true to our values of making everything in house. Our ancestors adapted their diets according to the season, so at Stones, we adapt seasonally to the availability of ingredients.
We use the recipes that our ancestors have passed down to us. Elder Georgie Mark made one of the best Saskatoon berry soups many of us can remember. Thanks to our Chef d’Partie, Josh Mark, for sharing her recipe with us at Stones, you can now enjoy the same foods we grew up eating. The traditional way is to dip the bread into the soup.
We want you, our guests, to learn about our culture. Stones’ great food is just part of it. Our Cultural Centre is the place where we want you to taste, touch, hear and see the things that shape who we are. Members of our nation and our friends in other First Nations make the artwork available in our Gallery Shop, depicting the places and people that matter to us. Our exhibits tell the story of our past, including how we came to be in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Outside, we have a traditional tipi encampment where our elders, artisans and performers can share some of our traditions with you. We work hard to pass our culture on to our own children and future generations. Join us and learn with them.
We welcome you at Stones Restaurant and at the Chiniki Cultural Centre, at anytime and from anywhere. Come, enjoy, be inspired by our food and our culture.
Stones Restaurant is located in the Chiniki Cultural Centre, next to the Trans-Canada Highway (Exit 131) and Morley Road. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., we offer mid-morning brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Stones is wheelchair accessible, has Wi-Fi Internet access and can accommodate group bookings. We encourage visitors to share photos of their #ChinikiCulture and #StonesRestaurant experiences with us online.