SIGA announces support for the Thundering Ahead Campaign

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN: Wanuskewin celebrated an historic day today as it marked the 25th anniversary since the Park opened its doors in 1992. “It’s appropriate that we’re celebrating our anniversary and acknowledging a long-standing and important partnership with the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) today,” said Wanuskewin CEO Dana Soonias, as he introduced Zane Hansen, President and CEO of SIGA.

“SIGA is pleased to present Wanuskewin with a $250,000 donation today toward the Thundering Ahead Campaign. We believe in Wanuskewin’s vision of being a living reminder of the peoples’ sacred relationship with the land; this shared vision and Thundering Ahead will deepen the sense of pride in heritage for our indigenous people – and that’s something SIGA is very proud to be part of.”

Tribal Chief of the Saskatoon Tribal Council, Chief Felix Thomas acknowledged SIGA on behalf of the Thundering Ahead Campaign team when he thanked Hansen, his management and Board of Directors: “Our community is built on people helping each other, particularly indigenous organizations supporting other indigenous organizations. This gift today marks a significant milestone as SIGA and Wanuskewin continue to work together to offer something meaningful for Saskatoon.”

Soonias added: “The partnerships and relationships between Wanuskewin and the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority go back twenty-one years, with SIGA supporting the Park since its inception. Many early staff members who were going to university spent their summers working at Wanuskewin as they earned their degrees and went on to become senior management in many organizations around the province including SIGA.  We are very proud to have their support over the years and this donation demonstrates our connection to our grassroots people in the ongoing renewal of a future UNESCO World Heritage site in one of Canada’s major centres.”

In addition to many Wanuskewin alumni having moved on to do significant work for SIGA, the discovery of gaming pieces in an archaeological excavation at the Park proved fruitful. The two polished discs found in 1993 offered insight into the traditions of gaming among Indigenous communities. Soon after these were found, the 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan established SIGA as a means to create opportunity. From very humble beginnings to a multi-million dollar business employing close to 1,800 people, SIGA is a success story that demonstrates the results of a shared vision of past Elders and leaders.

This donation will support Wanuskewin’s bold renewal vision. Plans are underway to apply for UNESCO World Heritage designation, introduce exhibit galleries and improve educational offerings, expand the current facility to accommodate larger conferences and meeting groups, renovate the nearly 25-year-old interpretive centre, preserve ecology and biodiversity on the site, and expand the land base to accommodate a small herd of Plains Bison.


On February 9, 2017, Wanuskewin launched plans for a $40-Million Capital Campaign to fund a bold renewal based on four pillars:

  • To elevate Wanuskewin from the longest-running archaeological project in Canada to an international centre for excellence in education, preservation and interpretation of Indigenous art and culture;
  • To aspire to world heritage designation through UNESCO, building on Wanuskewin’s existing status as a National Historic Site;
  • To preserve the ecological island that is Opimihaw Valley and protect the unique ecology and biodiversity of the land as Wanuskewin transitions into an iconic urban park;
  • To return the majestic bison to Wanuskewin’s plains.

Wanuskewin Heritage Park is located five kilometers north of Saskatoon. It opened in 1992 and has been host to many historic events, including a royal visit in 1986 when Queen Elizabeth II. In December 2016, the Catholic Church announced that an invitation had been extended for Pope Francis to visit Wanuskewin to offer an apology to Residential School survivors in Canada.

About SIGA

SIGA’s mission is to strengthen the lives of Saskatchewan and First Nation people through employment, economic growth and community relations. A non-profit organization, all profits from SIGA’s casino operations go to local First Nation communities, Community Development Corporations and the province’s General Revenue Fund. Sharing Success with Saskatchewan communities.

Media Contacts:

Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority
Melody Lynch, Director of Communications
(306) 477-7575

Wanuskewin Heritage Park
Tara Janzen, Development Manager
(306) 931-6767 ext. 232

View PDF Version