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WESTERN DEVELOPMENT MUSEUM AND WHITECAP DAKOTA NATION WIN MUSEUMS ASSOCIATION OF SASKATCHEWAN AWARD

The Western Development Museum and Whitecap Dakota Nation are pleased to announce the co-curated exhibit Wapaha Sk̄a Oyate: Living Our Culture, Sharing Our Community at Pion-Era, 1955-69 has won an Award of Merit from the Museums Association of Saskatchewan (MAS). The award was presented at the awards luncheon at the MAS AGM and Mini-Conference on June 10, 2023.

(l-r): Exhibit Co-Curator Stephanie Danyluk, Whitecap Dakota Nation Councillor Frank Royal and MAS Board President Helanna Gesner.

Since 2018, the Western Development Museum (WDM) and Whitecap Dakota Nation (WDN) have been renewing their historic relationship that began over 70 years ago. Wapaha Sk̄a Oyate: Living Our Culture, Sharing Our Community at Pion-Era, 1955-69 at the WDM Saskatoon opened on October 11, 2022.

The 2,000 square foot exhibit was designed and built by the WDM Exhibits Department and in full partnership with WDN, from paint colour decisions, to layout, to all content and curatorial choices – these were significant ways we practiced co-curation. The exhibit shares the story of the Whitecap community’s years attending Pion-Era from 1955 to 1969, highlighting their unique contributions to the show and their unbroken connection to Saskatoon. Built from what began as an archival photo-naming project, the exhibit features artifacts from the community and archival photographs from WDM collections, personal WDN collections, Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, City of Saskatoon Archives, Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society and Western Producer Archives.

The WDM and WDN believe their partnership is an exceptional example of working together in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation by centering Indigenous histories in the provincial museum. Wapaha Sk̄a Oyate: Living Our Culture, Sharing Our Community at Pion-Era, 1955-69 is on permanent display the WDM Saskatoon.

“We are honoured the Museums Association of Saskatchewan has recognized this important and unique project. We are grateful to the Elders, Knowledge Keepers and Chief and Council from Whitecap Dakota Nation for generously sharing their stories with us and entrusting the WDM to share Dakota histories once again in the Museum. Our partnership extends back 70 years. We look forward to many more years of working together and hope our co-curation model serves as an inspiration to other museums and Indigenous communities.”

Dr. Elizabeth Scott
Chief Curator – Director of Collections and Research
Western Development Museum

“For too long, museums have been telling our stories without us. In this exhibit, we have joined with WDM to tell our proud history, including the contributions that the Whitecap Dakota have made to the region and to Canada. This partnership continues the spirit of alliance that the Dakota have maintained with Saskatoon for well over a century.”

Chief Darcy Bear
Whitecap Dakota First Nation

“This project is an important first step in making space for Indigenous histories as told by the communities themselves. We owe much to the oral and archival record keeping of the Whitecap Dakota community, whose generous sharing of their history, culture, and humour, which guided this exhibit.”

Stephanie Danyluk
Co-Curator

More information on the exhibit can be found at wdm.ca/whitecap

The Museums Association of Saskatchewan Award of Merit is awarded to an institution or individual who has raised awareness, promoted, and advanced the museum sector in Saskatchewan through recent significant and sustained contributions to their communities in the form of museum projects completed within the past two years.

  • A beautiful idea and a beautiful project. It is so important to preserve elders knowledge. Thank you

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