Wanuskewin working to provide interest during pandemic
- Michelle Lerat | May 29, 2020
Wanuskewin Heritage Park is staying connected while waiting to re-open during phase four of Saskatchewan's re-opening.
The buffalo calves born there this spring are still off limits to visitors but there are videos and updates on the Park’s Facebook page, where there are also videos of what the Visitor Centre expansion will look like when construction is finished in the fall. The work will expand the heritage centre by 50 per cent.
Would-be visitors are also invited to check out the park’s website where they can find Elder greetings, beading classes, updates from the staff and a new segment that will air Thursdays called Snax and Facts.
“We’ll discuss anything from plants, medicines, cooking, tourism, archeology and bison,” said Andrew Mcdonald Director of Marketing and Communication. “We’re going to have experts from each of those disciplines come in and chat with our staff.”
COVID has had a significant impact on the park this season but, there are a lot of things being done to create a new experience when the park reopens, Mcdonald said.
The park was blessed with three female and one male calves this spring.
“It was really amazing,” said Mcdonald. “The first Bison calf was born on Earth day April 22, the third was born on May 5 Red Dress Day and the fourth was born on Mother’s Day.”
The park has a team to planning to make sure it opens safely and to ensure people have a rich experience when they visit.
Wansukewin is also striving obtain designation by the United Nations Educational as a unique, essential, cultural and historical site. It would be the first such UNESCO site in Saskatchewan.
“It is a place where we celebrate and educate visitors on Northern Plains Indigenous culture,” said Mcdonald. “Where we are has been a gathering place for over 4,600 years. Every group from the northern plains has come to this land at one time or another for trade, for ceremony, for hunting. It is this exact spot that people have been gathering in a very peaceful way for over 6000 years, almost twice as long as the Egyptian Pyramids.”
Last year Wanuskewin was recognized as the top Indigenous tourism destination in the province and the top Indigenous destination in the country.
As Saskatchewan Tourism week ends, people are encouraged to continue supporting local tourism businesses as they reopen.
The week highlights why tourism matters and the significant contribution the industry makes to the province’s economy and quality of life, Tourism Saskatchewan CEO Mary Taylor-Ash said in a release.
“The week will continue to be an occasion that unites our industry and brings attention to the innovative, hardworking and resilient people who make tourism happen,” she said.