A list of more than 400 potential names for a new bridge set to open this fall has been pared down to one.
A ceremony held Thursday morning revealed the North Commuter Parkway will be named in honour of Chief Mistawasis.
The bridge will extend Marquis Drive across the South Saskatchewan River, connecting with McOrmond Drive at Fedoruk Drive. Construction is expected to be complete by October.
Thursday’s name announcement came on National Indigenous Peoples Day as part of events promoting reconciliation in Saskatoon.
“It takes courageous people, such as these people standing here before you, to take that step forward and begin the real process of uniting all our nations together collectively,” said Chief Daryl Watson of Mistawsis Nêhiyawak about the naming.
— Chris Vandenbreekel (@Vandecision) June 21, 2018
A committee made up of First Nations, Métis and city officials began work in July 2017 to come up with a name for the bridge honouring Saskatoon’s Indigenous history.
“The name is really important. It gives us an opportunity to have a fuller understanding of Canadian history and the part that Indigenous people have played,” said Harry Lafond, executive director of the Office of the Treaty Commissioner.
Chief Mistawasis (pronounced miss-tuh-WAH’-sis), also known as Pierre Belanger, was a Cree chief who helped negotiate Treaty 6 between various Cree, Assiniboine and other First Nations bands and the Canadian government.
Treaty 6 territory extends through the central parts of what are now Alberta and Saskatchewan and includes Saskatoon.
Hundreds of suggestions were gathered from the community, with four names chosen for a short list announced in February.
City council will officially vote to re-name the bridge in August.
—With files from 650 CKOM”s Chris Vandenbreekel.