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“Chief Mistawasis” chosen for new north-end bridge on National Indigenous Peoples Day 2018

For immediate release: June 21, 2018 - 9:00am

The North Commuter Parkway Bridge Naming Steering Committee announced “Chief Mistawasis” (miss-tuh-WAH’-sis) as the recommended name of the North Commuter Parkway Bridge.

“As we come together to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day in Victoria Park and get involved in “Rock Your Roots” Walk for Reconciliation it’s fitting that we have chosen to name the North Commuter Bridge after Chief Mistawasis to acknowledge the contributions of those who came before us and strived to create a better future,” said Harry LaFond, Executive Director, Office of the Treaty Commissioner.

The announcement was made prior to the kick-off of the Rock Your Roots Walk for Reconciliation and National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations at Reconciliation Circle in Victoria Park today. The final recommendation for the name Chief Mistawasis to be applied to the bridge will be presented to City Council in August for formal approval.

“The process to bring us to this day has been one of learning and growth,” said Mayor Charlie Clark. “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. Thank you to the Elders, Survivors, the bridge naming committee and the entire community for the support and advice in our journey.”

Chief Mistawasis, also known as Pierre Belanger, was one of the most visionary northern plains Indigenous leaders. He was known in the Saskatoon area in hunting bison and played a major role in Treaty 6 negotiations in 1876.

“Prior to, and following Treaty No. 6, Chief Mistawasis was a bridge to changing times between people, communities and Nations,” said Chief Daryl Watson. “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.”

To celebrate this honour, Mistawasis Nêhiyawak will create an education campaign to tell the story of Chief Mistawasis’ role in moving Treaty 6 forward, in particular how he spoke for the people involved in the treaty, both First Nations and Métis, and his vision of the future.

Chief Mistawasis was one of over 400 names that were gathered from the community as part of an extensive community engagement exercise that began in July 2017. A key focus of the naming process was to educate the community on Indigenous people’s history, culture and contributions, which included the creation of four educational vignettes, school lesson plans and tool kits.

The community-led project responds directly to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #79: Participate in a strategy to commemorate Aboriginal People’s history and contributions to Canada.

The North Commuter Parkway Bridge remains on schedule to open in October 2018.

The NCP Bridge Naming Committee consists of community leaders from the Office of the Treaty Commissioner, Central Urban Métis Federation Incorporated, Saskatoon Tribal Council, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and the City of Saskatoon.

Under the City of Saskatoon’s Strategic Goal of Quality of Life, this project supports the recognition of our built, natural, and cultural heritage.  The naming of civic facilities celebrates the history, environment, and outstanding contributions of our diverse community.