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Assiniboia engages in cultural mapping session

The Assiniboia community was invited to participate in a cultural mapping of community assets on November 8.

The Assiniboia community was invited to participate in a cultural mapping of community assets on November 8. As the administration prepares for further development, the Town of Assiniboia invited Prairie Wild Consulting to engage in town cultural asset mapping and planning. Danny Roy, Alicia Buckley and Samantha Mark from Prairie Wild Consulting in Saskatoon spent the day meet­ing with town staff and administration, organizations, lo­cal business, community members and students.

The meetings were a collaborative process where participants shared their viewpoints. Cultural planning makes use of a cultural and place-based lens for commun­ity planning and development. Mapping makes culture more visible so it can be linked, exchanged, and further developed, Roy explained.

Two cultural mapping sessions took place, one at noon and one in the evening. There were 22 participants at the noon session, and 12 at the evening meeting. During the first session, the participants were asked to define culture as it is understood in Assiniboia. Culture is a term that can be defined in many ways. Cultural objects have import­ance and bring value to community members. The partici­pants of the session were asked to provide their input to identify Assiniboia’s cultural assets within the commun­ity and area. The participants formed working groups to identify cultural assets and themes which were shared in discussion later with the whole group.

These cultural resources covered a wide range includ­ing people, places, events and stories. Each group identi­fied such places as the Shurniak Art Gallery, Assiniboia and District Museum, the Prince of Wales Centre and public library. The groups identified cultural events such as the Festival of Trees, the Polka Fest and the numerous events taking place in and around Assiniboia.

Other cultural assets included such institutions as recreational facilities like the arena, educational institu­tions such as the schools, and health care facilities, such as hospitals and care homes, and numerous churches. There were also historical assets mentioned such as the early settlers and early town history of town, the nearby Petroglyphs. Assiniboia was also identified as a gateway to other cultural assets in the area such as the Grasslands National Park and the Badlands.

The session was also asked to identify the driving force behind the cultural assets. For most of the participants it was the tremendous volunteer efforts of the Assiniboia and area residents that were named as the driver of the re­sources. Other drivers included time spent by volunteers and local champions. Finally, the participants had to cat­egorize these assets into themes. Some of the emerging themes included heritage, agriculture, diversity, inclu­siveness, providing for needs among many others.

During the second session, the participants formed working groups to categorize the assets identified in the first session into themes. Some of the emergent themes were community heart, food and agriculture, service cen­tre, tourism and recreation, people for people, and herit­age. They also mapped themes onto physical maps of the town. The next part of the session allowed the entire group to provide feedback of the mapping and themes. The next steps in the process were developing goals for the themes.

Following these discussions in Assiniboia, the con­sultants are taking these findings and conclusions back to Saskatoon to develop a report. This report is intended to bring the community together and identify those assets that makes Assiniboia unique. This report will be made available to Assiniboia administration and complements the official community development plan.

Those residents who still want to contribute their view­points on cultural assets for Assiniboia and the surround­ing district can take an online survey, posted on the Town of Assiniboia website at These assets will be identified by the community and assist in explor­ing what culture means to Assiniboia.