Second in a series: Aboriginal tourism in Saskatchewan
Published Thursday, July 23, 2015 7:49AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 24, 2015 8:23AM EDT
Part two of our three part series on Aboriginal Tourism in Canada, showcases Loren Christie learning hoop dancing in Saskatchewan.
Just outside of Saskatoon, the Wanuskewin National Heritage Park has been a gathering place of the Northern Plains Indians for 6,000 years. It's a great place to spend a few hours. There are 360 acres of trails, interpretive sites and archeological digs. Because of the location in the valley and its importance as a gathering spot there have been a riches of artifacts discovered there. Some of the projects are on-going, allowing you to see a dig in progress.
If you want to try your hand at tipi raising you can do that too, which I did with some help. Like the hoop dancing you saw in today's segment there is meaning in every movement. Each three poles used in the tipi construction represented the foundations for the stages of life from childhood to your twilight years. There is meaning in everything in the Northern Plains culture. The reverence to mother earth and history, aging and life is amazing. And yet the mindset is really about living for and being thankful for each day as it comes. It is really fascinating.
The visitor's centre also houses art exhibits and plays host to dancing demonstrations. Lunch in the on-site cafe is well worth it as it serves up a host of local specialties including rabbit pot pie, bison brisket and bannock.
If you are heading to Saskatoon, stay at The Delta Bessborough. It's a former railway hotel, which looks like a mini version of Banff's Fairmont Springs and like that hotel, dominates the surrounding skyline. It's a beautiful hotel and perfectly situated. For dinner, I really liked Ayden Bar & Kitchen. Shortly after winning Top Chef Canada, Dale MacKay turned a 110 year old heritage building in his hometown of Saskatoon into this restaurant, which is epitome of hip. I counted seven beards and eight man buns on the staff! The menu is locally focused with a modern flare. I had the charcuterie plate (all the meat is ground and prepared on site) and delicious trout caught from Lake Diefenbaker.