Saskatoon to name bridge after Chief Mistawasis

Photo courtesy Sarah Schmid.

A new bridge set to open in Saskatoon will be named after an iconic Northern Saskatchewan Indigenous leader.

The city has decided to name the new North Commuter Parkway Bridge after Chief Mistawasis, the first chief of Mistawasis First Nation and one of the signatories to Treaty 6 in 1876.

Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark made the announcement as part of the Rock your Roots Walk for Reconciliation and National Indigenous Peoples Day on Thursday.

“The process to bring us to this day has been one of learning and growth,” Clark said in a media release. “Reconciliation is a journey and it is a journey that the City of Saskatoon is dedicated to continuing as we seek to bridge the divides within our community. Our Elders have been appealing to us to treat one another as relatives, which is a powerful starting place for building a stronger Treaty relationship for future generations.”

Chief Mistawasis was one of more than 400 names submitted as part of a community engagement exercise that started in July 2017. The main goal was to find a name that would help educate Saskatchewan residents on Indigenous history and culture. The project also included four educational vignettes, school lesson plans and tool kits.

The decision to honour Chief Mistawasis was a welcome one for the community’s current chief, Daryl Watson.

“Prior to, and following Treaty 6, Chief Mistawasis was a bridge to changing times between people, communities and Nations,” Watson said in a media release. “Today, Mistawasis Nêhiyawak follows Chief Mistawasis’ legacy and belief in treaties, partnerships, alliances, friendships in sharing territories and all that Creator provides for us all.”

The new bridge is set to officially open to the public in October.