It has been years in the making, but Saskatoon's first school with a Dakota-influenced curriculum has officially opened its doors.

Chief Whitecap School, located in Stonebridge, teaches students from kindergarten to grade eight and it includes an emphasis on Indigenous education.

Murals and displays are set up around the school to teach students about Dakota history, culture and language.

There are also interactive lessons to educate students on Dakota culture, as well as the archaeological history of the Stonebridge area.

The lesson plans meet Saskatchewan curriculum requirements, but include traditional and modern ways of teaching.

Harold Robertson, principal of Chief Whitecap School, said students will get a unique learning opportunity.

"If I was a student and I had an opportunity to learn about first nations culture the way kids will have now, I would probably be a different person," Robertson said.

Members from city council, Saskatoon Public Schools, the provincial government and Whitecap Dakota First Nation were on hand for the ribbon cutting.

Dalyn Bear is a counselor at Whitecap Dakota First Nation and he said this a step in the right direction for reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

"In order to move forward together I think we have to understand the real history behind it. That's where we're moving right now and it can't hurt anybody," Bear said.

"We're all still learning the same math, the same English’s, the same sciences, but now we have a more historical component added to what's going on."

Chief Whitecap School will be the primary school for students from Dakota Whitecap First Nation in grades five to eight, according to Bear.

The school was developed through a partnership between Whitecap Dakota First Nation and Saskatoon Public Schools.

"This building exemplifies all that hard work and good time that's been put into fostering that relationship over time,” Robertson said. “Now it's time for kids to be the pillars of that that carry it forward in our community and in our province.”

Funding for the school was provided by both the provincial and federal governments.