Sask. will mark treaty boundaries with new highway signs

·2 min read
These new signs will mark Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 territory along Highway 11, the province of Saskatchewan says. (Government of Saskatchewan - image credit)
These new signs will mark Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 territory along Highway 11, the province of Saskatchewan says. (Government of Saskatchewan - image credit)

Saskatchewan will become the first province in Canada to mark treaty boundaries along major provincial highways when new signs are installed later this year, the province says.

Designs for the new highway signs to mark the boundaries were revealed earlier this week.

The first signs are set to be installed later this year on Highway 11 near Davidson and Bladworth, an area between Saskatoon and Regina. Depending on which direction you are going, they'll say "Welcome to Treaty 4" or "Welcome to Treaty 6."

Reflecting the original language of the treaties, they will also say, "As long as the sun shines, grass grows and rivers flow."

The signs will also include a welcome in the respective Indigenous language of each treaty area.

Saskatchewan treaty commissioner Mary Culbertson said this is just a start. She hopes there will eventually be road signs for all the treaty boundaries.

"Even though it's just a sign, those have never existed here before ... a sign that says the treaty territories that we are living in, where those boundaries are," Culbertson said.

"You'd have to go back through historical records, through the treaty negotiations around those, through oral history, in order to know where those boundaries are."

Bridget Yard/CBC
Bridget Yard/CBC

She said the signs are a great educational tool for the public.

"And when we're all educated, we have less ignorance. Less ignorance leads to a little less racism."

Culbertson's research team has determined all of the boundaries throughout Saskatchewan along major highways. There will ultimately be between 20 and 30 signs on major roads, she said.

The province said there will be a public unveiling and ceremony planned for later in 2022.

"We are proud to be the first province in Canada to officially mark treaty boundaries along major highways, working in partnership with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner to recognize the treaties," said First Nations, Métis and Northern Affairs Minister Don McMorris in a Wednesday press release.

Culbertson said it took two years to negotiate the signage.

"When the government puts it up, they're responsible for it. They're the ones paying for it. And you know what? It's a small thing that they can do."

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