Wanuskewin applies to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Wanuskewin is aiming to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The heritage park located just outside of Saskatoon has submitted an application to receive the status.

On Friday, the heritage park and the Government of Saskatchewan signed an MOU that will see the government provide interim access to land that has been acquired by the province for the future Saskatoon Freeway project.

Arrangements will then be made to provide access on a long-term basis to land that is not needed once the project develops and continues. Minister of Highways and Infrastructure, Greg Ottenbriet said there’s over 250 acres that was purchased by the Department of Highways for the future freeway project.

He said as they continue to figure out and plan the freeway’s alignment, they’re finding that there’s land that won’t be utilized for the new roadway.

CEO of Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Darlene Brander said in order to receive UNESCO status, you have to have the support of your local governments.

She added that becoming a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site, you have to show that you offer something that can’t be found elsewhere in the world.

The CEO said the heritage park allows visitors to elevate their understanding of Plains Indigenous culture in a way they’ve never been able to do before. Brander said visitors can do that through either one of the programs at Wanuskewin or by taking a walk in their valley.

The heritage site currently sees around 40 thousand visitors a year and that number is expected to triple if the park receives UNESCO status.

Currently two other groups have applied for UNESCO status and Brander says their cases are being reviewed before theirs. If any of those two cases are halted, it will further postpone Wanuskewin’s case.

More information about UNESCO Heritage Sites can be found by visiting their website here.


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