Wanuskewin is an Indigenous-led, self-governing organization stewardship of 731 acres of lands, a gathering place for all nations. Candace Wasacase, the longest-serving board chair, says that Wanuskewin “has always had a magnetic pull as a natural gathering place.” Their Interpretive Center exhibits and educates the public about Northern Indigenous Plains Culture, and CEO Darlene Brander says that they “celebrate the history, while also showcasing the evolving Indigenous cultures and preparing for the future.” They both add that Wanuskewin is unique, important, brings joy, and adds to the fabric of what is now called Saskatchewan.
One of the initiatives Wanuskewin was determined to accomplish was the reintroduction of the bison. “When the bison left us, physically not spiritually, it did something to damage our spirituality and culture,” and when the bison hooves hit the ground in 2019, Candace adds that she can still remember vividly how she felt. One of the feelings she had at that moment was great pride in the fact the next generations will grow up with bison in their backyards; a first in over 100 years.
They say that the return of the bison is symbolic, of a new era and that they are on the cusp of welcoming the world. In the next three to four years, Wanuskewin is expecting to be a designated UNESCO heritage site– a first in Saskatchewan. Another program is their community-driven Wanuskewin Institute, a think tank that will focus on research to uplift Indigenous voices in the education space. Candace adds that the Institute will showcase that their “ways of knowing, being, and doing, can heal the world.”
Mission + Vision + Values
Advance the understanding and appreciation of the evolving cultures of the Northern Plains Indigenous peoples.