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Saskatchewan

History

The story of Saskatchewan is filled with hardship, perseverance, triumph and tragedy. The Aboriginal people lived here for 10, 000 years before Europeans first arrived in the middle part of the 17th century. The Cree, Dene and Assiniboine people lived a simple life, gaining all they needed from the land.

The relationship between these two cultures was often on shaky ground: Europeans wanted more land for farming, which resulted in conflicts that often translated into bloodshed. The evidence of these struggles is found throughout Saskatchewan, with many historic battle sites to see, such as Fort Batoche where M├ętis leader Louis Riel was captured.

As more Europeans arrived in the region, the strain on cultural relations and the ecosystem increased. In 1865 there were an estimated 60 million buffalo in Saskatchewan; by 1876 that number had dropped to just 500. Over-hunting was the main culprit and the consequence was the end of a way of life for the Aboriginal people.

By 1890 most Aboriginals lived on reserves. The railroad now linked Canada as one, and the ease of migration increased population further. After the Great Depression of the 1930s and the onset of WWII, wheat production reached its highest levels. Mining expanded and forestry became a viable industry.