We Are All Treaty People

Site showcases local story of reconciliation in rural Saskatchewan

  • Published - 24/06/2022
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  • Posted By - OTC
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On June 22, the Office of the Saskatchewan Treaty Commissioner co-hosted the official opening of the Stoney Knoll Interpretive Site in a public ceremony.

The Stoney Knoll First Nation tells a story of Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations on the prairies and how two opposing groups found a path of reconciliation through the barriers set up by the past mistakes of the Canadian Government, and offer a chance to right these wrongs.

Reserve 107, with the focal point of Stoney Knoll (opwashemoe chakatinaw) in the RM of Laird, between Waldheim and Rosthern, was land originally reserved by Treaty for the Young Chippewayan Cree band. After 1897 it was illegally taken and sold to Mennonite and Lutheran settlers.

In 2006, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by representatives of the Young Chippewayan First Nation, Mennonites and Lutherans, to work together for “a timely and respectful resolution of the issues which history has left to us.”

This new Interpretive Site grew out of the vision of local Mennonite landowners Wilmer & Barb Froese, who desired to have a permanent, visible record of this on-going story of reconciliation.  The site has been developed by the Stoney Knoll Historical Committee in collaboration with the local St John’s Lutheran congregation, members of the Young Chippewayan/Stoney Knoll First Nation, and the Office of the Treaty Commissioner.

The site is intended to be a welcoming space for Indigenous people and others who have heard the Reserve 107 story. It holds significant cultural, spiritual, educational, and tourism value for the region and beyond.

“This is a story of bridge-building and peacemaking,” said Wilmer Froese.

At the site is a series of storyboards with the history and significance of the area. There is also a gathering circle where guests can pause for reflection, discussion, or prayers. At the entryway will be a wood-carving art, “Portal of Healing” by Osler artist Michelle Thevenot.

Learn more about the relationship between these communities in the 2015 award-winning documentary Reserve 107: Reconciliation on the Prairies.