First Nations and Metis Culture

Experience First Nations culture

Learn to build a tipi, create Aboriginal handcrafts, prepare a hide or try some bannock. The First Nation’s experience, knowledge of the land and their culture, can be explored at heritage sites, museums, galleries and events around the province or take in a pow wow to really feel the pride of the First Nations people.

At Wanuskewin Heritage Park, just on the outskirts of Saskatoon, you can learn about First Nations culture through four nterpretive trails, a medicine wheel, tipi rings, a buffalo jump, and newly renovated interpretive centre. You can also try traditional First Nations food such as pemmican and bannock at the restaurant.

The First Nations Gallery at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Regina focuses on the art, traditions and lifestyles of Saskatchewan's Aboriginal peoples. Authentic Native heritage programs allow visitors to immerse themselves in this fascinating and spiritual culture.

Powwows rank as one of the highlights of the Saskatchewan summer. Beads, bells, porcupine quills and feathers decorate the brilliant outfits of dancers who step, swirl and jingle in time to powerful drumming and the chant of the singers. The stately grace of the women’s jingle dance, the passion of the men’s fancy dance, the energy of the youth dances – each has its own history and meaning, preserved through the centuries. Friendly competitions, good food and companionship are all part of the experience. Firmly rooted in tradition, the powwow today continues to be an important cultural and social gathering. 

Unique Métis Culture

The history and culture of Saskatchewan’s Métis people also lives on today. Batoche National Historic Site is a good example. Here you can explore Métis history, and learn about Louis Riel and how he led his Métis people in an armed uprising against the Canadian Government in 1885. This site features the remains of the village of Batoche, including the church of St. Antoine de Padoue, the rectory, as well as the trenches used by Middleton's army. Métis traditions can be experienced in numerous events throughout Saskatchewan including Back to Batoche Days, held every July.

The North West Resistance took place on the prairies and parkland of western Canada in the spring of 1885. Its story is told in chapters everywhere from Winnipeg in Manitoba, to Fort Saskatchewan in Alberta. It is a particularly unique story in Saskatchewan where the Métis and First Nations each have their own stories of confrontations and battles with government forces as well as the subsequent fallout and its impact on Canadian history. To commemorate this significant event in our history, the Trails of 1885 was established. To learn more about the history of the 1885 North West Resistance, click here