Bill Waiser

Waskesiu Drowning Memorial

Memorial sign erected at Kapasawin for Waskesiu drowning victims

In follow up to my October 2017 column, Freak Storm on Lake Waskesiu Left Four Dead, I received the following letter and update from the Waskesiu Foundation in August of 2018.

Hello Bill,

I am Chair of the Waskesiu Foundation, a charity that supports social, recreational, cultural and environmental initiatives that improve the Waskeisu Experience for residents and visitors.

Your Saskatoon StarPhoenix article from October 11, 2017, titled History Matters: Freak Storm on Lake Waskesiu Left Four Dead ended with a suggestion there needs to be a plaque at the Kapasiwin tree naming the four people who died and explaining why they were once buried there. Your article inspired our Board to do just that. It also inspired two donors to come forward to make donations to cover the cost of the sign. I’m pleased to advise the Waskesiu Foundation, in partnership with the Waskesiu Heritage Museum have installed a sign by the memorial tree at Kapasiwin. The sign not only lists the names and explains the tragedy, but it also has four photographs. to supplement the text. Dorell Taylor has been involved as we moved forward on getting the permissions, photos, text etc.

I know you would be interested in seeing the sign, and I hope you can soon come to Waskesiu to do so. In the meantime, I have included a photo of the memorial tree with the sign beside it and a close-up of the sign, so you can read the text and see the photos. The sign measures 30 by 40 inches and is themed to be compatible with the heritage signs in Waskesiu.

Thanks for your suggestion that prompted action.

Derwin Arnstead
Chair, Waskesiu Foundation

The new memorial plaque is located at the base of the Kapasawin Memorial Tree near Waskesiu in Prince Albert National Park.