Our school is named for Chief Whitecap (Wapaha Ska) who is recognized as a co-founder of the city of Saskatoon and played a vital role in building important relationships between the Dakota people and the European settlers.
The traditional territory of the Dakota people includes parts of Canada and the U.S. and in the early 1860s many Dakota decided to permanently move north to avoid conflict and live in peace. Led by chiefs Whitecap, Standing Buffalo and Littlecrow, the Dakota followed trade routes into their northern territories. Chief Whitecap established his community along the South Saskatchewan River.
By 1879, Chief Whitecap and his people were settled on reserve lands located approximately 26 kilometres south of present-day Saskatoon, where the Whitecap Dakota people established friendships and alliances with the region's Métis and settler communities. In 1882, Chief Whitecap advised John Lake on the best location along the South Saskatchewan River for the establishment of Lake's temperance colony that would grow to become Saskatoon.
During the Riel Resistance of 1885, Chief Whitecap ensured that the young community of Saskatoon was protected. He, along with members of his community, travelled with the Métis to Batoche in order to provide guidance. Although he was arrested for treason, Chief Whitecap was acquitted based in part by settler testimony that he had always been honest and loyal to the Crown.
Chief Whitecap, who died in 1889, created a bond between the people of the Dakota First Nation and neighbouring communities.