Wanuskewin Heritage Park

Wanuskewin Heritage Park is a non-profit cultural and historical centre of the First Nations. (In the Cree language: ᐋᐧᓇᐢᑫᐃᐧᐣ / wânaskêwin means, "being at peace with oneself".) The site is a National Historic Site of Canada due to the importance of its archaeological resources representing nearly 6000 years of the history of the Northern Plains peoples.[1] In 2016, it was announced that Wanuskewin intends to seek UNESCO World Heritage designation,[2] which would make it the first World Heritage Site in Saskatchewan.

Wanuskewin Heritage Park
Wanuskewin Heritage Park.jpg
Wanuskewin Heritage Park
LocationCorman Park No. 344, near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
CreatedJune 27, 1992
OperatorWanuskewin Indian Heritage Incorporated
Wanuskewin Heritage Park Authority
Official nameWanuskewin National Historic Site of Canada
Wanuskewin Heritage Park Entrance.jpg


The Saskatchewan Wanuskewin Indian Heritage Incorporated (WIHI) organization was established to present the interests of regional First Nations in planning the park. The Wanuskewin Heritage Park Authority (WHPA) is a 12 member organization responsible for the operation of the park. The WHPA board has representation from the first nations community, Government of Canada, Province of Saskatchewan, City of Saskatoon, University of Saskatchewan and Meewasin Valley Authority and the Friends of Wanuskewin.[3]

For more than 6,000 years people have gathered at this place. The migratory nations who roamed the Northern Plains came to hunt bison, gather food and herbs, and to find shelter from the winter winds. Some of the sites uncovered date back thousands of years. Wanuskewin is also the site of an arrangement of boulders called a medicine wheel, of which fewer than 100 remain on the northern plains.

Wanuskewin Heritage Park is located near the west bank of the South Saskatchewan River, just three kilometres (1.9 mi) north of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan(/ˌsæskəˈtuːn/). Within its 240 hectares (590 acres) there are 19 sites that represent the active and historical society of Northern Plains Peoples composed of Cree, Assiniboine, Saulteaux, Atsina, Dakota, and Blackfoot.[4] On site there are summer and winter camp sites, bison kill sites, tipi rings, and artifacts such as pottery fragments, plant seeds, projectile points, egg shells and animal bones, all within a compact area.[5]

Wanuskewin Heritage Park officially opened in June 1992. Scientific investigations in the area began in the early 1930s with the University of Saskatchewan now managing an archaeological research program at Wanuskewin with active archaeological digs. The Park was designated a Provincial Heritage Property in 1984, the only such site in Saskatchewan featuring prehistoric artifacts. It was named a National Historic Site in 1986. The following year Queen Elizabeth II unveiled a dedication plaque. In 2001, Prince Charles, was named Pisimwa Kamiwohkitahpamikohk, or, “the sun looks at him in a good way”, by an elder in a ceremony at Wanuskewin.

Wanuskewin's mission is to operate, on a sustainable basis, a Heritage Park under the leadership and guidance of First Nations people that contributes to increasing public awareness, understanding and appreciation of the cultural legacy of the Northern Plains First Nations people.

During the peak summer season about 40–45 people are employed at the park. The place serves as:

  • a tourist attraction,
  • human resource development agency
  • scientific, cultural and educational authority
  • Gathering place for present day spiritual uses such a Sweats, Pipe Ceremonies and more


A herd of plains bison were reintroduced to this historic bison hunting ground for numerous Indigenous groups in December 2019 when six calves were brought from Grasslands National Park. Later that month, one bull and four pregnant cows travelled from South Dakota. The bull comes from a wild herd in Yellowstone National Park.[6] The herd grew by one on 22 April 2021 when for the first time a calf was born on the territory since 1876.[7] On 12 September 2021, a male calf was born; bringing the total number of bison at Wanuskewin to 18.[8] The herd is expected to grow to 50 animals.[6]


  1. ^ Wanuskewin. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  2. ^ "City Supports Wanuskewin's UNESCO Aspirations: Lease Deal Signed". www.saskatoon.ca.(subscription required)
  3. ^ "About Us Page".
  4. ^ Kylie, Aaron (20 December 2017). "Connecting to 6,000 years of history at Wanuskewin Heritage Park". Canadian Geographic. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  5. ^ Selkirk, Diane (24 November 2021). "Bison in Canada Discover Ancient Petroglyphs, Fulfilling an Indigenous Prophecy". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 28 November 2021. Missing |author1= (help)
  6. ^ a b Short, Amanda (17 January 2020). "A piece of history: Bison reintroduced to Wanuskewin Heritage Park site". The Star Phoenix. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  7. ^ Cecco, Leyland (1 May 2020). "The bison calf taking the first step to rewild the Canadian prairies". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  8. ^ "Bonus' late-season baby bison born at Wanuskewin". Saskatoon StarPhoenix. Retrieved 14 September 2021.

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Coordinates: 52°13′25″N 106°35′42″W / 52.22361°N 106.59500°W / 52.22361; -106.59500