Treaty 6 Territory & Homeland of the Métis Bike Racks being installed along 21st Street to honour Indigenous histories
The City is pleased to announce the installation of new bike racks along Saskatoon’s historic 21st Street that honour First Nations and Métis peoples’ histories and cultures.
The bike racks were created in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action No. 79: Participate in a strategy to commemorate the contributions and history of Aboriginal peoples to Canada.
Saskatoon is located on Treaty 6 Territory and Homeland of the Métis. As a way to honour this history, the City worked together with First Nations Elder, Harry Lafond, and Métis Elder, Senator Nora Cummings, to feature Treaty 6 Territory and Homeland of the Métis medals on bike racks along 21st Street. These medals were chosen as meaningful symbols that could demonstrate respect for Saskatoon’s Indigenous histories on one of the city’s major historic streets.
“Thank you so much to Elders Senator Nora Cummings and Harry Lafond as well as the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre and Gabriel Dumont Institute for partnering with the City of Saskatoon on this project. Our streets have a story to tell. Saskatoon’s story is about being a gathering place where First Nations, Métis and non-Indigenous people have come together over generations,” says Mayor Charlie Clark. “Bike racks can also be sculptures on our streets. This is a great way to use those sculptures to reveal a deeper history for our own residents and visitors to our city, right in the heart of the Downtown, here in Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.”
“Saskatoon is a beautiful walking and cycling city. The new bike racks reflect the aesthetics of the city while expressing the reconciliation spirit of who we want to be as a community,” says First Nations Elder Harry Lafond. “The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has brought us to a place in our history to recognize thousands of years of settlement on the banks of the Saskatchewan River. We are experiencing the beauty of an intensifying diversity and with it the challenge to physically express our recognition of this gift throughout our growing city. The bike racks not only reflect the beauty of 21st Street, but more importantly the spirit and beauty of who we want to become.”
"As Métis people, especially in the city, our history and our experiences have often been overlooked. We have never had a medal before, so for me it is exciting to see the City using this medal to honour our rich history and culture,” says Métis Senator Nora Cummings. “The medal includes symbols that are important to us as Métis people. By having these medals on the bike racks, it helps to educate others about our experiences here and to encourage pride amongst ourselves and especially amongst our young people. It’s important that they have pride in themselves, their history and their identity.”
The Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre and Gabriel Dumont Institute provided important historical information to explain the significance of the bike rack medals and the history of First Nations and Métis peoples in Saskatoon and surrounding area.
With the support of the Downtown Saskatoon Business Improvement District, this information is posted in the directories along 21st Street.
“Downtown Saskatoon is proud that historic 21st Street was chosen for this project and that needed infrastructure was constructed in such a way to commemorate the many contributions of Indigenous peoples to Canada,” says Brent Penner, Executive Director of Downtown Saskatoon. “Downtown Saskatoon is a connected community, offering a #PlaceToBelong to all our neighbours.”
For more information on the Treaty 6 Territory and Homeland of the Métis bike rack project and to learn more about the history of First Nations and Métis peoples in Saskatoon and surrounding area, visit saskatoon.ca/medals.