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Wanuskewin makes Canada’s tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Wanuskewin Heritage Park has made Canada’s tentative list to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. File / Global News

Wanuskewin Heritage Park is closer to possibly becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The park, located just north of Saskatoon, was named to Canada’s tentative list of eight sites to be considered for the international honour.

READ MORE: Wanuskewin Heritage Park aiming for UNESCO designation

Candace Wasacase-Lafferty, chair of Wanuskewin’s board of directors, said being named to the list reaffirms the cultural significance of the park.

“Indigenous nations from across the Great Plains recognize the significance of Wanuskewin as a sacred location,” Wasacase-Lafferty said in a statement.

“This is a gathering place. We come here for ceremonies, to understand our history and to connect with our ancestors.”

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Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark called the announcement “incredible,” and stating it is “the culmination of many years of hard work by an extraordinary group of leaders.”

“Wanuskewin has been a visionary contributor to our community since archaeological excavation began in the early 1980s.”

The park is currently undergoing a $40-million renewal plan as it looks to become a world-renowned centre for education, entertainment and tourism.

“This renewal represents something significant for Wanuskewin,” Wasacase-Lafferty said.

“It’s about offering a more robust visitor experience at World Heritage standards.”

Wasacase-Lafferty said it is also about remembering the past and 6,400 years of Indigenous peoples history.

An addition to the interpretive centre for a contemporary Indigenous art gallery is part of the first phase of the project.

READ MORE: How bison thundered back to the prairies as a thriving industry

There are also plans to introduce a small herd of plains bison.

Seven other locations in Canada were named to the tentative list on Wednesday, the first time it has been updated since 2004.

The last location in Canada to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site was Mistaken Point, Newfoundland and Labrador, which received the designation in July 2016.

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There are currently 18 World Heritage Sites in Canada.

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