First Nations peoples inhabited the Okotoks area for thousands of years prior to the arrival of the Europeans. The name, Okotoks, is derived from "o'kotok", a Blackfoot First Nation word meaning rock or stone. The actual intent is lost in history. However it is generally agreed that it refers to either the "Big Rock" west of town, or the "Stoney Crossing" of Sheep Creek. Plains Tribes did not use rivers to travel on. A good river crossing was important like the one near the present day Town of Okotoks.
Although in their language they always referred to themselves as "Na-ko-da" (meaning "people"), today they are known everywhere as the Stoney Indians. The people of Eden Valley, south of Okotoks, are the descendants of the Dakota, Lakota and Nakoda peoples who used and occupied a vast area of the North American Great Plains and Rocky Mountains.