We Are All Treaty People

Saskatoon Public Library names new branch to honour Métis

  • Published - 27/11/2016
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  • Posted By - OTC
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The new Stonebridge branch of the Saskatoon Public Library (SPL) will carry a name to honour Métis people – Round Prairie Branch.

“We knew that we wanted to honour Indigenous people with the naming of this new facility, and we’re pleased to open the doors to the Round Prairie Branch in December,” said Carol Cooley, Director of Libraries and CEO, in a media release.

As an active member of Reconciliation Saskatoon, SPL has firmly committed to answer many of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. The naming of this branch is one step in our journey, and we are proud to honour the legacy of the Round Prairie Métis.”

The library naming process involved consulting with Indigenous Elders representing many Indigenous and Métis peoples, languages and cultures in Treaty 6 territory and the traditional homeland of the Métis. The gatherings were hosted by the Office of the Treaty Commissioner and included discussions on names brought forward by each representative.

The chosen name of Round Prairie, (La Prairie Ronde) comes from the Métis community of buffalo hunters who established a wintering site near Dakota Whitecap in the late 1800’s.

In the 1920’s and ‘30’s, many in the community were forced to migrate to Saskatoon in search of work when they could no longer follow the buffalo migration into the United States. About 35 families from Round Prairie moved to Saskatoon before they were forced by the Crown to relocate in the 1950’s breaking up the close-knit community.

Shirley Isbister, President of the Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. (CUMFI), says it’s heartening to see organizations like SPL pay homage to the legacy of Métis people in Saskatchewan.

“As a proud descendant of the Round Prairie (La Prairie Ronde) Métis community I am very honored that The Saskatoon Public Library is recognizing the many contributions and history of the Round Prairie Métis,” said Isbister in a release.

“Despite social exclusion, poverty and systemic racism, the Round Prairie Métis took civic responsibility seriously and have been strong contributors to the Saskatoon community.”