WELCOME TO SASKATCHEWAN!
Written by Wendy Williams (a.k.a. Mom)
The name Saskatchewan is an Anglicized version of a Cree word meaning “swiftly flowing water”. It is a prairie province sandwiched between Alberta and Manitoba. The capitol city is Regina. The Pre-Cambrian Shield covers a section of the north of the province and includes coniferous forests, swamp and muskeg. More southern landscapes tend to be gently undulating hills except for the flatter southern plains.
Some of the nomadic Aboriginal people were: Chippewan, Slavey, Cree, Blackfoot and Assiniboine. Their main food sources were the caribou, moose and buffalo. Aboriginal communities close to waterways probably came in contact as early as 1690 with Henry Kelsey of the Hudson Bay Co. fur traders. Smallpox and alcohol devastated many of the tribes with the arrival of European fur traders and settlers.
In the 1800’s, the Metis objected to the Government’s handling of land claims. The Northwest Rebellion of 1885, was stopped by government troops and one of the leaders of the uprising, Louis Riel, was executed. His house still stands in Winnipeg today.
The North West Mounted Police were established in 1873. The first southern rail lines passed through Regina and Moosejaw in 1882-1883. An accelerated flow of homesteaders settled in Saskatchewan, especially in the southern half of Saskatchewan. Some ethnic groups today are: French, German, Ukrainian, Scandinavian, Hutterite and Mennonite.
Saskatchewan is noted for its Saskatchewan Co-operative Wheat Producers Ltd. of 1923, when citizens banded together to create solutions to provide for their needs. “The Wheat Belt” is one of the world’s great grain producers followed by industries in gas and oil, uranium and minerals such as deposits of copper, zinc, potash, salt, clays and coal.
Some noted artists from Saskatchewan are: Brent Butt (Corner Gas) from Tisdale, Buffy Saint Marie who was born in Qu’Appelle Valley, Cree painter, Allen Sapp and Metis installation artist, Edward Poitras. Maria Campbell is an author who wrote Halfbreed, an expose of Metis life. Aboriginal works include a variety of beaded clothing and crafts. The arts are alive in the province with museums, performances and music.
Saskatchewan boasts two National Parks: Grasslands and Prince Albert as well as 39 provincial parks. Tourists can enjoy many historical sites, local celebrations, ethnic culinary delights and beautiful vistas throughout Saskatchewan. Visit Saskatchewan Tourism.