By Morgan Modjeski
River Landing could soon be home to a new war memorial honouring the contributions of First Nations and ally soldiers in the War of 1812.
The memorial, titled the Spirit of Alliance – War of 1812, was donated to the City of Saskatoon by the Whitecap Dakota First Nation and will symbolize the important relationship between First Nations and British allies.
Depicting a series of bronze sculptures representing historical figures exchanging gifts and promises within the poles of a bronze teepee, city officials say the statue is expected to become a prominent part of downtown Saskatoon.
Chief of the Whitecap Dakota First Nation, Darcy Bear, said while the monument will honour the Dakota First Nation and other allies who fought in the war, he said the monument goes beyond the historical battle.
“The War of 1812 monument is less about war and more about commemorating the relationships—or the spirit of alliance—that brought people together to lay the foundation for our nation,” he said in a statement.
“It is important to recognize these significant moments in our shared history.”
The memorial, valued at $320,000 will be constructed by a team of three local artists and will be placed in the centre of the second roundabout at Saskatoon’s River Landing less than 200 metres away from a statue depicting the meeting of Saskatoon founders Chief Whitecap and John Lake.
Kevin Kitchen, the community initiatives manager with the City of Saskatoon said the addition of monument will help tell the complete story of Saskatoon’s history.
“All of these monuments and pieces of art together talk about that important founding relationship between First Nations, Metis and white settlers,” said Kitchen.
“I think it’s something we need to a better job of and through this art, we’re doing that and telling that story.”
If the donation is accepted, the city will donate approximately $18,000 for the installation and unveiling of the monument and will vote on $1,000 annually for maintenance during the 2015 budget process.
Pending approval by council and the Meewasin Valley Authority officials expect the monument to be installed by fall of 2014.