Saskatoon (a name derived from the Cree inanimate noun misâskwatômina, “Saskatoon berries”, which refers to the sweet, violet-coloured berries that grow in the area) is the largest city in the province of Saskatchewan (kisiskâciwan). It’s located on Treaty 6 Territory and the Traditional Homelands of the Métis, and the area has been inhabited by First Nations people for at least 8,000 years. Saskatoon’s metropolitan area has a population approximately 300,000, and 10.5% identify as Indigenous. Approximately 16.3% of Saskatchewan’s population identifies as Indigenous; they include First Nations people from the Cree, Dakota, Dene (Chipewyan), Nakota (Assniboine) and Saulteaux nations, and Métis, whose ancestors were First Nations and European (primarily French), whose own distinct language and culture emerged during the fur trade in Canada in the 17th century.
Saskatoon is small, but well worthy of a visit. In fact, it was listed on the New York Times‘ list of 52 Places to Go in 2018. Places to visit while you’re here include Wanuskewin, an Indigenous heritage park that is on its way to being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Remai Modern Art Museum, which is home to the most comprehensive collection of Picasso linocut prints in the world. It has a vibrant and diverse culinary scene, beautiful riverbank walking trails, and numerous festivals throughout the summer.
Saskatoon is home to a number of post-secondary institutions, including the University of Saskatchewan, which is a leader in Indigenization in Canadian academia, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, the Gabriel Dumont Institute, whose courses focus on Native studies, Métis studies, and Indigenous languages, and the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies, which is First Nations-run and offers diploma programs for Indigenous students.
Saskatchewan has a diverse economy. The main industries include agriculture, mining, energy, manufacturing, transportation, life sciences, biotechnology and construction. Saskatchewan is one of the world’s largest producers of uranium and potash. It is also rich in oil, diamonds and forestry products.