Saskatoon bridge to be named for Indigenous leader Chief Mistawasis

Saskatoon bridge to be named for Indigenous leader ChiefMistawasis

SASKATOON- A bridge in Saskatoon could be named after Chief Mistawasis, known as a visionary Indigenous leader.

The steering committee for the north commuter parkway bridge, which is to open in October, says it would be an appropriate way to honour the historical contributions of Indigenous people.

Chief Daryl Watson of the Mistawasis First Nation said the bridge symbolizes people coming together.

“That bridge today represents that opportunity where we can walk collectively across to a new opportunity that brings prosperity to everybody,” he said.

The announcement on the recommendation was made Thursday before the Rock Your Roots Walk for Reconciliation and National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations in Saskatoon.

The final recommendation for the name will be presented to city council in August for formal approval.

Mayor Charlie Clark said the purpose from the start of the naming process was to let residents choose the name.

“This was about the community,” he said. “The whole intention  … (was) to name the bridge in the spirit of reconciliation.”

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

Another bridge in Saskatoon was recommended for renaming earlier this year, but city councillors decided not to change that one.

Some suggested Traffic Bridge should be renamed as the Truth and Reconciliation Bridge.

At the time, officials with the city said changing the name would require more public input.

Traffic Bridge was officially named in 2007 in celebration of the Centennial Year of the Bridge. (CJWW/The Canadian Press)

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