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Co-op supports Wanuskewin

June 14, 2022

Today at Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Heather Ryan, Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) CEO, made a special announcement: A $1 million donation to assist the park with its programming, resource management activity, and application to become Saskatchewan’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site by 2025.

“This is an extremely exciting and timely charitable gift to Wanuskewin,” said Darlene Brander, CEO Wanuskewin Heritage Park. “These beautiful traditional lands belong to all of us and in the spirit of reconciliation. Co-op has stepped up to ensure we can fully articulate the new interpretive center and trail system as being unique in the world. With Co-op’s support, we can continue to offer world-class cultural experiences showcasing Northern Plains Indigenous Cultures. This gift today signals a major investment that will positively impact our province for generations to come.”

After completing its visionary Thundering Ahead Campaign in late 2020, the newly expanded Wanuskewin faces its next big challenge, the UNESCO World Heritage Designation application process. The Park must meet the rigorous UNESCO criteria while it simultaneously expands its programming and resource management activity at what is now a greatly enhanced and multi-faceted Wanuskewin. A new exhibit hall with interactive displays, Indigenous art galleries, an enhanced trail system through multiple archeological sites, and the new and ever-growing bison herd are just a few of the important pieces of this one-of-a-kind Heritage Park.

“At the heart of community is a commitment to understanding the rich history and diverse backgrounds from which we’ve come,” said Heather Ryan, FCL CEO. “This includes taking the time to create spaces and opportunities for inclusivity, spaces where we can gather to better understand each other. For Co-op, our million-dollar gift to Wanuskewin represents a unique opportunity to build on our commitment to diversity and inclusion and reaffirm our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation.”

The Honourable Laura Ross, Saskatchewan’s Minister for Parks, Culture and Sport, and City Councillor, Zach Jeffries, were also on hand to congratulate Co-op on this impactful gift for Saskatchewan and Saskatoon. They noted the incredible value Wanuskewin now brings to Saskatchewan in terms of reconciliation and its ever-growing economic impact on Saskatoon and Saskatchewan Tourism.

“Wanuskewin is unlike anywhere else and is a direct link to our past,” Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport Laura Ross said. “Federated Cooperative Limited is a great community partner and their generous support will go a long way to help Wanuskewin as they work towards a UNESCO World Heritage Designation.”

Councillor Zach Jeffries added “I am excited to see our Saskatoon community stepping up to support Wanuskewin’s bid for UNESCO designation. On behalf of Mayor Charlie Clark and Saskatoon’s City Council, I want to extend a sincere thanks to FCL for their transformative commitment to Wanuskewin. Working towards World Heritage Site designation for Wanuskewin is a team effort and FCL’s leadership will help the park achieve the international recognition it deserves.”

Candace Wasacase-Lafferty, Wanuskewin Board Member and Fundraising Committee Chair, is humbled and overjoyed with Co-op’s commitment. “Wanuskewin relies on strong community partnerships to ensure we can fulfill our vision that Wanuskewin will be the living reminder of the peoples’ sacred relationship with the land. Co-op has long been a stable and strong partner of Wanuskewin and we hope their ongoing commitment will serve to inspire others to join us in our important work here.”