Wanuskewin, the nēhiyawēwin/Plains Cree word roughly translated as ‘seeking peace of mind’
At a vital crossroads established at the intersection of opimihaw Creek and the South Saskatchewan River, what we know today as Wanuskewin Heritage Park has been a destination for millennia and now is a window into part of Canada’s history that was almost lost. What began as Wanuskewin’s vision to tell the story of the land and its first peoples has grown into part of our broader national identity.
Today, Wanuskewin is an opportunity to delve into the past and discover what life was like pre-contact for the first peoples of the Northern Plains, along with how Indigenous cultures are still connected and represented here today. The theme is one of interpretation—exploring and sharing Plains cultures to gain a better understanding of ourselves, Saskatchewan’s Indigenous peoples, and our common heritage.
Native prairie restoration
North American grasslands are among the most endangered biomes in the world. Wanuskewin honours the sacred relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the land by prioritizing land restoration, maintenance, and increasing biodiversity levels. Using Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Integrated Pest Management, and Best Management Practices, Wanuskewin is conserving and improving the land and sharing knowledge with land-based partners.
Wanuskewin Elders prioritized grasslands ecology and suggested that restoring bison as a keystone species would be extremely beneficial to the health and well-being of the land. In 2019, Wanuskewin, in collaboration with Parks Canada, restored bison to their original prairie home. Wanuskewin’s efforts to restore keystone species to native prairie grasslands honours the spiritual connection between Northern Plains Indigenous groups and bison.
Over six thousand years ago, Wanuskewin echoed with the thundering hooves of bison and the voices of Indigenous peoples from across the Northern Plains; the land still echoes with stories that Wanuskewin is proud to share.
Wanuskewin Galleries is the only Indigenous-led art gallery in Saskatchewan. The Galleries commits to a decolonized and inclusive approach to exhibits. Wanuskewin Galleries supports community, traditional and contemporary Indigenous artistry, and innovative cultural interpretations.