‘Significant and sacred’: Buffalo herd in Saskatchewan uncover petroglyphs

Buffalo were introduced to the park two years ago.

If not for the shuffling of a buffalo herd in the Wanuskewin Heritage Park near Saskatoon, a rare type of petroglyph may have stayed hidden forever.

The herd’s activity in the paddock in the summer exposed the rocks – just 800 metres from the doors to the visitor center.

Wanuskewin Heritage Park founder Ernie Walker says it’s an incredible find.

“It’s what we refer to as a rib stone,” he tells APTN News. “The engravings on this rock mimic or are a metaphor for bison. They’re like looking at the ribs of a bison and if you look down the central access, where you would have expected the vertebra to be, there’s a little spirit figure.”

In all, four stones and the rock used to carve the rib stone were discovered nearby.

The discovery has a deeper meaning for Cy Standing, a member of the Wanuskewin’s Elder’s Council.

“This is very significant because when the bison came back and then they uncovered the rock and that’s very significant and sacred for us,” he says. “That tells us, that gives us a sign there are good things to come in the future.”

The discovery of the stones will help Wanuskewin live up to its name which comes from a word for four stones.

The park and the buffalo herd, also hopes the find will help achieve its goal of becoming a designated UNESCO heritage site.

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