Plains Indians | people of the earth & sky

wonder | wander | world was recently reminded of a trip taken years ago to the central prairie of Canada. In a brand new place for one whole month where we fell in love with the expansive fields of wild grass and the heritage center that was home to an old bison run off.

Wanuskewin Heritage Park

Saskatoon in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan may not be first pick for a summer vacation. Although summer is the best time of the year to go for an extended visit as even then temperatures can still be in the single digits.

Wanuskewin is a National Historic Site of Canada — valuable and important for its archaeological resources that represent nearly 6000 years of the history of the Northern Plains peoples.

The breathtaking view overhead as we flew in cast an immediate spiritual spell of the Great Plains — its essence brought to life for anyone who sets foot on the prairie.

Wanuskewin bison art

Standing exposed on the ridge with a sweet summer breeze blowing up from the deep gulch, we are shrunk to a miniscule speck — a bleep dwarfed to nearly nothing, just a blink through the eons of time — yet we are made distinctly aware of being central to everything that is.

Bison heritage display

This inescapable paradox makes living sense of the indigenous art works and displays on exhibit. Drawn and carved pieces by accomplished Anishinaabe artist Garry Meeches from the Long Plain First Nation fill the main hall and take our breath away.

Saskatoon history & heritage

Furred, horned, beaded or feathered — the collections recreate the painstaking craftsmanship, economical beauty and resilient pride of a nation and culture alive and well after all its trials.

The Great Bison by Garry J. Meeches

There is a singleness to each item, preserved as it captured the creativity and process of an individual — an intimate of this vast expanse, deeply rooted in the earth’s rhythms and cycles, and impelled by invaders to move on with maximum speed and minimal concern.

Cultural dancers TJ Warren & his daughters

The enchantment of the prairie is a deeply abiding transcendence for those attentive to its expansive presence.

Wanuskewin dance performance & Elder programs at the center

A brief month hardly grants access to the subtleties of Plains Indian culture and philosophy but it affords a vision that once wholly their own is now generously shared with us.

The Manitou Stone legacy

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