Winnipeg announces new initiative to help move forward with reconciliation

The city of Winnipeg released a promotional video for its new initiative, Welcoming Winnipeg: Reconciling our history.

The initiative is to re-examine historical markers and place names to resolve the absence of Indigenous perspectives, experiences, and contributions in stories remembered and commemorated in Canadian cities.

“Listening to Winnipeggers to help develop a process and policy to guide how the city recognizes and commemorates various historical people and events with place names, statues, signs, and streets,” said Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman during a press release.

“It’s an engagement effort that will examine our history and where it has led our city.  It will challenge everyone involved to hear, to learn, and respect the views of all our residence as we decide where our city is headed in the future.”

The city says this is just one aspect of the reconciliation process they’re committed to, and this will help ensure Indigenous peoples perspectives are reflected truthfully in Winnipeg’s stories, markers and names.

People in Winnipeg can get involved in this initiative in a few ways.

Submit a story – Online, mailed, over phone, or through audio recording at the Millennium Library, on February 7t and 28 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. both dates.

Complete an online survey – available until March 18, 2019.

Attend a panel event and discussion on March 13, 2019 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the University of Winnipeg.

Looking for more information? Welcoming Winnipeg: Reconciling our history.

“I think it’s constructive to get everyone that wants to be involved – involved,” said former MKO grand chief Sheila North. “I think it’s wise to invite people for their participation, but being mindful of that not everyone is going to have a positive comments or positive feedback.”

“You have to take the good with the bad to move forward.”

North, who now works as a director of Indigenous Community Development for the College of the North said acknowledging and getting Indigenous people involved, is important for widespread support.

“It would be great to see the city plastered with recognition of Indigenous people of this part of Canada, but not just this city but all of the urban centres in Manitoba including in the north.”

North says she sees different provinces acknowledging the existence of Indigenous people through signs and public spaces.

However, here in her home province, she doesn’t see much of that, yet.

“I think we need to do more and it’s about time that we’re seeing these kinds of initiatives coming forward.”

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