There are not many cities with a potential UNESCO World Heritage Site like Wanuskewin Heritage Centre right on their doorstep. I arrived at the site on a cold, windy day, unusual weather for this fall!, and checked in at the admission desk. I had arranged to tour the site with my friend and fellow Wild about Saskatoon member Sandra Walker, who was working there that day. However, you can easily be your own guide or pick up a brochure, which will give information and suggestions of what to pay attention to.
The interior of the building was brimming with activity when I arrived: there were school programs in every venue, and as we walked to our exit from the building to the land, we walked past classrooms where facilitators were teaching children about Indigenous games, technologies, foods, etc. Teachers: check out the school programs.
On exiting the building, we walked along the upper trail, past the children’s play ground, and out to the Medicine Wheel. The Medicine Wheel is a spiritual site, and therefore is fenced off, but can easily be seen from the viewing station. Interestingly, places where Indigenous peoples placed rocks look different from the background vegetation. The rocks, over the centuries, have created micro-biomes, so the grasses that grow there are different – perhaps different species, perhaps different heights or colours. Apparently, with the drought in Europe this year, the same phenomenon has been seen – archaeological sites that were heretofore unknown have shown up, due to the unique vegetation on them. We were able also to see the location of a tipi ring, not as old as the Medicine Wheel, but still distinct from the other prairie vegetation.