Wanuskewin, Saskatchewan

Canadian Geographic - - UNESCO -

SIG­NIF­I­CANCE The area serves as a com­plete record of cul­tural de­vel­op­ment on the North­ern Plains span­ning six mil­len­nia. Within a small area, there are 19 pre-con­tact arche­o­log­i­cal sites that drew In­dige­nous groups in­clud­ing Black­foot, Cree, Ojibwa, Nakota and Dakota. The var­ied uses of the site show an evo­lu­tion of land-use meth­ods for sur­vival, and it’s no­table be­cause one can find such ex­ten­sive records in close prox­im­ity. SIZE 240 hectares LO­CA­TION About 2.5 kilo­me­tres north of Saska­toon, along Opim­i­haw Creek, a trib­u­tary of the South Saskatchewan River CUR­RENT OF­FI­CIAL PRO­TEC­TION De­clared a Pro­vin­cial Her­itage Park in 1984 and a Na­tional His­toric Site in 1986 RAR­ITY FAC­TOR One of the site’s rare ar­ti­facts is an enor­mous stone-cir­cle medicine wheel, the most northerly recorded wheel in North Amer­ica. It is be­lieved to have been ar­ranged some 1,500 years ago and un­like many medicine wheels, there are no “spokes” con­nect­ing the cen­tral cairn and the outer ring. The area fea­tures un­usual to­pog­ra­phy for the Great Plains. A deep, wide val­ley cuts through flat prairie, leav­ing nooks and shel­ters. THE LO­CAL’S TAKE Uni­ver­sity of Saskatchewan arche­ol­o­gist Ernie Walker says Wanuskewin Her­itage Park con­tains an ex­cep­tional arche­o­log­i­cal record of oc­cu­pa­tion of the Opim­i­haw Creek val­ley over the past 6,400 years. “The arche­o­log­i­cal sites pro­vide a unique op­por­tu­nity to show­case First Na­tions cul­ture, en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion and stew­ard­ship, artis­tic ex­pres­sion and sci­en­tific in­ves­ti­ga­tion.” Wanuskewin

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