The provincial government unveiled two new signs on Monday to mark the Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 boundary near Highway 11.
The signs will be installed after an Indigenous ceremony and protocols take place, according to a news release. They will stand five feet high and be 12 feet wide, located along the four-lane highway near Bladworth.
“I am grateful to the Office of the Treaty Commissioner and the Government of Saskatchewan for working together to officially mark Treaty boundaries along our province’s major highways,” Saskatchewan Lt.-Gov. Russ Mirasty said in a news release issued Monday. “It is important recognition of our treaties.”
Mirasty was joined by Treaty Commissioner Mary Culbertson and Don McMorris, the minister responsible for First Nations, Métis and Northern Affairs, for the unveiling.
Motorists travelling north will see the Treaty 6 sign and those driving south will see the Treaty 4 sign. This section of Highway 11 sees more than 5,000 vehicles daily, the government said.
Each sign will include an image of a treaty medal, which were provided to Indigenous leaders during treaty negotiations.
The signs will use the wording of the original treaties to indicate they will remain valid “as long as the sun shines, grass grows and rivers flow.” The design also features a welcome in the respective Indigenous languages of each treaty area.
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“It is common sense to acknowledge the Treaty boundaries by the province and by the federal government,” Culbertson said in the news release. “This first sign acknowledging the Treaty 4 and 6 boundary is paid for by the province. It is going to spark dialogue and lead to policy changes.”
Culbertson said the signs will help educate people about the treaties.
“There are Treaties 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10,” she stated. “These Treaties were here before this province was created – before these roads were here.”
The province has said the signs are part of efforts to recognize, acknowledge and revitalize Indigenous languages.
McMorris wrote the signs will complement treaty education in Saskatchewan “to continue moving forward together towards meaningful and lasting reconciliation efforts in Saskatchewan.”
“The Government of Saskatchewan is proud to play a role in being the first Canadian province to mark a Treaty boundary along a major provincial highway,” he stated.
Culbertson said her office will continue to work with elders and the knowledge keepers advisory council to ensure that other treaty boundaries will be marked with signs along various provincial highways.
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