Saskatchewan region hits pause on road after Indigenous artifacts discovered

REGINA — The Saskatchewan government says a rural municipality has paused construction of a road until its council decides what to do about concerns over Indigenous artifacts found at the site.

Candace Casewell, assistant deputy minister of parks, culture and sport, says the rural municipality of Winslow located west of Saskatoon followed the necessary rules of planning the road project.

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It brought in a firm to study the narrow strip of natural prairie in the project area for heritage value and it found some artifacts, including pottery and a ceremonial marker.

Casewell says the items were excavated and the ministry was satisfied there were no more in the construction zone.

The Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs, which represents First Nations in the area, says the artifacts are culturally important and questions why the project was allowed to go ahead.

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations also called for consultations to be held with affected First Nations.

"That is our history out there and the province is trying to bulldoze over it," FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said in a statement on Thursday.

"We have seen this fight over and over and we are not hesitant to begin a legal challenge to save these culturally sensitive sites from the careless destruction of the province."

Casewell says that under legislation, the discovery of artifacts doesn't require consultation and the process is different depending on what objects are found.

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