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5 Indigenous-Led Experiences in Saskatoon

Indigenous-led experiences in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

If you’re looking to dive into a city full of rich history and vibrant culture, let me introduce you to Saskatoon. But first, let me back up a bit and give a little backstory on how I wound up in this not-so-top-of-mind destination for travelers. At the end of 2022, I was invited to be an Expedia ambassador. They hosted a retreat for us where they gifted each ambassador an Astrocartography booklet, based on our respective birth charts. This highlighted places in the world that may be meaningful, powerful, and/or transformative for us in given categories i.e. friendships, careers, finances, love, etc.

Saskatchewan, Canada was at the top of one of the lists for me!

In less than a month’s time, I was going to be attending IMM (a media marketplace event that’s like speed dating with destinations/pr companies).

Within a few days after the retreat, I received a message from a lady whose last name is the same as mine (Holiday), just with an extra “L”. It was the tourism person from…you guessed it SASKATCHEWAN! She wanted to meet with me at IMM.

I messaged her back letting her know we just instantly became BFFs in my head, not just from the name similarities, but because I’d just received an Astrocartography chart that said I needed to visit Saskatchewan.

We met at IMM, clicked, and a year and a half later the stars (and our schedules) all aligned and I finally made it to Saskatchewan for an amazing collaboration!

The Local Adventure Co Indigenous-led experiences in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Back to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan — this vibrant city is located in the heart of Canada’s Prairies. Known as the “Paris of the Prairies” for its stunning bridges and scenic river views, Saskatoon is a place where history, culture, and community thrive. But beyond its charming streets and natural beauty lies a rich Indigenous heritage that has shaped the land and its people for thousands of years.

While there are so many Indigenou-led experiences that can be found in Saskatoon, this blog post will cover 5 things that were a part of my personal itinerary. I’ll explore the deep roots of Saskatoon’s Indigenous history and how you can connect with it through Indigenous-led experiences. From guided tours that delve into ancient traditions to cultural workshops that celebrate contemporary Indigenous art, Saskatoon offers a unique opportunity to learn, engage, and honor the stories and contributions of its First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities.

Indigenous-Led Workshops at Remai Modern Museum

During my trip, I had the chance to participate in a birchwood basket-making workshop at Remai Modern Museum with a traditional knowledge keeper and storyteller. It was an unforgettable experience! The artist walked us through the traditional techniques, sharing stories and the cultural significance behind each step. Crafting my own basket while learning about Indigenous heritage was truly special.

Remai Modern regularly hosts workshops like this, led by Indigenous artists who bring their skills and stories to life. From beadwork to storytelling and drumming sessions, there’s always something engaging happening. Plus, the museum’s events and artist talks offer even more insight into contemporary Indigenous art and culture.

Wanuskewin Heritage Park

Bison herd at Wanuskewin Heritage Park in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Wanuskewin Heritage Park is a treasure in Saskatoon, rich with Indigenous history and culture. This sacred site has been a gathering place for Indigenous peoples for over 6,000 years. During my visit, I took a guided tour that offered a deep dive into this history. At the beginning of the tour, we gave tobacco as an offering, a sign of respect to the land and its ancestors. This gesture set the tone for a meaningful experience.

The tour guide shared fascinating insights into the traditional uses of various plants for medicinal purposes, passed down through generations. One of the most striking features of Wanuskewin is the bison herds, reintroduced as part of conservation efforts. Historically, Indigenous peoples relied heavily on bison for food, clothing, and tools, and the bison drop—a cliff used for hunting bison—is a significant archaeological site in the park.

We learned about the importance of Treaty 6, an agreement that continues to influence relationships between Indigenous peoples and the Canadian government. The park’s galleries and performances further enrich this understanding, showcasing Indigenous art and bringing history to life through dance and storytelling.

Wanuskewin is a living, breathing testament to the resilience and culture of the Indigenous peoples of the Northern Plains. The park offers a unique opportunity to connect with this heritage, understand the profound relationship between the land and its people, and appreciate the enduring legacy of the bison.

Batoche National Historic Site

Batoche National Historic Site Indigenous-led experiences in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Batoche National Historic Site is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the history and culture of the Métis people in Saskatoon. This site holds immense significance as the location of the historic Battle of Batoche, a pivotal event in Canadian history. During a visit to Batoche, you can explore the preserved battlefield and gain insight into the struggles and triumphs of the Métis community. Guided tours offer a deep dive into Métis culture, highlighting traditional practices, crafts, and stories passed down through generations. The site also features interpretive exhibits and demonstrations, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant heritage of the Métis people.

Dakota Dunes Resort

Dakota Dunes Indigenous-led experiences in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Dakota Dunes Resort, situated just outside of Saskatoon, is a captivating destination offering a blend of natural beauty and Indigenous culture. The word “Dakota” means “friend” or “ally and historically, this area holds significance as the traditional territory of the Dakota people, who have inhabited the land for generations. Today, Dakota Dunes serves as a vibrant hub for Indigenous-led experiences and activities.

Visitors to Dakota Dunes can immerse themselves in a variety of cultural and recreational pursuits. Guests can cozy up next to the bonfire and make bannock (a form of bread) on a stick, experience a Pow Wow dance presentation and learn about its significance, or relish in a stargazing tour that includes Dakota interpretation. For those seeking a little outdoor recreation, the Dunes Golf Links presents a challenging and picturesque golfing experience against the backdrop of the South Saskatchewan River valley.

Beyond golf, visitors can explore hiking trails, wildlife viewing areas, and scenic viewpoints, all while learning about the cultural significance of the landscape. The Dakota Dunes Casino provides entertainment and dining options infused with Indigenous flavors and hospitality. Additionally, the resort offers accommodations, making it an ideal base for further exploration of Saskatoon and its surrounding areas.

Book a stay at Dakota Dunes Resort

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E-Bike Adventures with The Local Adventure Co.

Meewasin Valley Trail Indigenous-led experiences in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Embark on an unforgettable journey through Saskatoon’s picturesque landscapes with The Local Adventure Co. This Indigenous woman-led experience offers a unique way to explore the city and its surrounding natural beauty. Glide effortlessly along the riverbanks on electric bikes, led by knowledgeable guides who share insights into the area’s Indigenous history. Along the way, immerse yourself in the scenery and discover hidden gems. If you’re feeling adventurous, opt for kayaking or paddle boarding to explore the waterways and soak up the tranquility of nature. Whether you’re a biking enthusiast or prefer water-based activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you’re paddling along the riverbanks, crafting birchwood baskets, or learning about traditional medicinal plants, you’ll deepen your connection to the land and its Indigenous peoples. By supporting these Indigenous-led initiatives, you not only create lasting memories but also contribute to the preservation and celebration of Saskatoon’s vibrant heritage.

Many thanks to Tourism Saskatchewan for the invitation to partner & experience the region and to Discover Saskatoon for helping curate an incredible itinerary.

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Indigenous-led experiences in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada


  • soundos

    great post for sharing

    July 2, 2024 at 4:22 am Reply

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