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Indigenous Relations Division

Welcoming Winnipeg:
Reconciling our history

The inaugural Committee of Community Members has been established

On January 30, 2020, Council passed a motion to adopt the Welcoming Winnipeg: Reconciling our History Policy. This policy was developed to guide the City in making decisions regarding requests to create new, add to or remove/rename historical markers and place names and resolve the absence of Indigenous perspectives, experiences and contributions in the stories remembered and commemorated.

A process was established for requesting and implementing initiatives to recognize and commemorate various historical people and events. It includes the creation of a Committee of Community Members to provide recommendations, for final decision by Council.

The City of Winnipeg is proud to introduce the newly established Welcoming Winnipeg Committee of Community Members, who will be responsible for:

  • Reviewing Welcoming Winnipeg applications and providing recommendations for consideration by the Executive Policy Committee (EPC) and then final decision by Council;
  • Hosting delegations/community presentations;
  • Providing input and advice to Indigenous Relations to align existing and newly created processes related to creating new, adding to or removing/renaming historical makers and place names.

The eight members of the committee from the community are:

  • Robert Gendron
  • Mabel Horton
  • Albert McLeod
  • Reanna Merasty
  • Dr. Erin Millions
  • Angelic Mojica
  • Raymond Sokalski
  • Katherena Vermette

Additionally, there will be one ex-officio member to be designated by the Mayor.


Updates

January 14, 2020 – The public engagement report for Welcoming Winnipeg project is now available.
Community feedback, information from other cities, and Winnipeg’s current processes were considered in developing recommendations for Executive Policy EPC and Council consideration. An administrative report with recommendations will be submitted for review at a meeting of the Executive Policy Committee (EPC) on January 14, 2020.

The Public Service is recommending that all applications for the naming or re-naming of historical markers or place names be assessed under a common process through which:

  1. Applications will be reviewed by IRD for completeness and conformity with the criteria set out in the Policy.
  2. Applications will then be reviewed by a new community member-based committee, composed of 50% Indigenous and 50% non-Indigenous members, with balanced representation of genders, LGBTG2Q/TS/NB persons, historians, archivists, researchers, Elders, and youth.
  3. This committee will forward its recommendations regarding each application to the Executive Policy Committee and Council for consideration.

Additionally, the Public Service will report back by the end of 2020 to report on learnings and challenges of the initial process to make further recommendations/enhancements.

As part of the decision-making and report review process, there is an opportunity for members of the public to appear as a delegation at the EPC meeting when the report is brought forward on January 14, 2020. The meeting agenda is now available online.

July 2019 – Your feedback has identified that the community feels strongly about all the options to create new, to add to, and to remove various historical markers and place names. Phase 2 of this initiative includes gathering input on a proposed nomination process and criteria for evaluation to guide how we move forward in reconciling our City’s history.

Take part in this next phase of engagement and have your say in the future of creating a Welcoming Winnipeg. Visit the Engage tab for more information on online and in-person opportunities.

June 2019 – On June 11, 2019, the Executive Policy Committee received an update on Welcoming Winnipeg stating that the Public Service will report back to Council by September 2019, with its recommendation for a Welcoming Winnipeg policy and implementation plan. The updated report is now available. The feedback gathered through the public engagement process is currently being finalized and will be used to help inform the recommendations for further community input in the coming months.

January 2019 – We want you to be a part of reconciling our story to ensure the Winnipeg of the future is welcoming to all.

Join us on our Journey of Reconciliation and tell your story about a place in Winnipeg that is important to you by leaving a voice message, sending a written story, or recording your story. Visit the Engage tab for more information.

Sign up for updates to receive emails at key project milestones.

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Moving Forward

The Public Service is recommending the creation of a community member-based committee is created to review applications and make recommendations on creating new, adding to or removing/renaming place names and historical markers. Further recommendations ask That existing policies, procedures, by-laws and motions concerning the naming and renaming of place names and historical markers be reviewed; and if amendments are required to align to the Welcoming Winnipeg: Reconciling our History Policy, these amendments be brought forward to Council for approval. The Public Service will report back before then end of 2020 to report on learnings and challenges of the initial process and make further recommendations or enhancements. An administrative report with recommendations has been submitted for review at a meeting of the Executive Policy Committee (EPC) on January 14, 2020.

Engage

Our city is a reflection of all of us and within our city lives our stories.

A final public engagement report is now available.

Phase 2

An online survey was available on this page from July 11 - August 2, 2019. Thank you to the 131 people who provided feedback on how to refine the proposed nomination process and draft policy recommendations. Between July 18 and 25 the project team met with 91 people for community discussions on the proposed process and raft policy, along with criteria for evaluating proposals to recognize and commemorate our history. Thank you for all of your considerations! All feedback is currently being analyzed to help develop and refine policy recommendations for Council’s consideration in fall 2019.

Previous Engagement

Online survey

An online survey was available on this project webpage from January – March 2019. Thank you to the 690 people who completed the survey.

The feedback received from phase was analyzed along with all input received to help inform a proposed nomination process and policy. The public input is available in a What We Heard report.

See the timeline tab for the project schedule.

Panel event and discussion

Thank you to the more than 60 people who joined us at the University of Winnipeg for a panel event and discussion on March 13.

Panelists Karine Duhamel, Lorena Sekwan Fontaine, Mary Jane Logan McCallum, Adele Perry, Jarvis Brownlie and Kevin Brownlee discussed their perspectives on Indigenous stories and experiences related to historical markers, Indigenous place names, our shared history, and how the discussion applies in Winnipeg.

See the videos tab to review a recording of the panel discussion.

In case you missed it, some of the themes that came out of the panelist’s discussion included:

Truth
  • This initiative is an opportunity to revisit Winnipeg’s story. Adding Indigenous context and history to plaques, monuments and street names keeps colonialism visible, with added truth and perspective.
  • Removing symbols and representation of colonialism would also remove the opportunity to add context and dialogue and call for the truth.  Acknowledging and creating spaces provides more perspective for intersectional conversation and reflection.
  • Not a way to rewrite history, a way to right history.
  • This dialogue is an opportunity to deepen the context of Winnipeg’s history from an Indigenous story-telling approach and are backed through archeology and history.
Youth
  • Honour Indigenous youth by creating a safe space and representation on monuments, art and sculptures and written in Indigenous language.
  • Youth have to see themselves in the city.
Women
  • Candid dialogue opens the doors to the truth about statues that represent colonial damage.  It is important to create spaces for healing, through the voices and perspectives that honour Indigenous women.
  • Importance of 'calling forth' and making visible what has been invisible.
  • Honour and represent Indigenous women on existing monuments as seen through their eyes, and through the eyes of their families.
Language
  • Indigenous languages on signage and street names are one way to commit to the presence of Indigenous languages as living languages.
  • Indigenous language use on signs, plaques, and monuments offer an opportunity to create a sense of belonging.

An additional thank you to the 22 people who stayed after the event to take part in a public workshop regarding what was discussed and how to move forward.

To learn about some of the work and expertise of our panelists the Welcoming Winnipeg section of the Library's Indigenous Info Guide.

If you would like to stay updated on City of Winnipeg public engagement events, follow the City on Facebook and Twitter or City of Winnipeg public engagement newsletter.

Project Timeline

Timeline

Timeline

Background

In July 2010, the Canadian, Provincial and Municipal government parties signed the Memorandum of Collaboration (MOC) to work together and better align resources to improve socio-economic outcomes for the Indigenous peoples in Winnipeg and to improve the capacity of Indigenous organizations to carry-out their mandates.

The three parties collaborated on the development of priority areas in which to achieve these goals and from this Welcoming Winnipeg was created. Dialogue across the country on shared history in various cities specific to markers, plaques and names prompted action in Winnipeg and is one aspect of the Welcoming Winnipeg initiative.

This component of the Welcoming Winnipeg initiative is just one aspect of the reconciliation process we, as a city, are committed to, and will help ensure that the contributions, experiences, and perspectives of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit are reflected truthfully in our stories, historical markers, and place names.

Winnipeg’s history

In Winnipeg, we have an opportunity to re-examine our relationship with Indigenous peoples and our relationship with the traditional lands on which Winnipeg was built. In some cases, historical markers commemorate historical figures that advocated, constructed, and participated in creating policies, laws, and legislation having devastating effect on the lives of Indigenous peoples, such as residential schools from 1880 to 1996.

With the arrival of Settlers in Canada, Indigenous territories were re-mapped and re-named, becoming the standard for cities that continue to grow within Indigenous territories. Indigenous place names are emerging as one instrument in the process of reconciliation; acknowledging the presence of Indigenous peoples and their longstanding relationships to territory and lands. Winnipeg, as an example, is on Treaty No. 1 Territory, and the Homeland of the Métis Nation.

The Treaty relationship is important to the City’s ongoing commitment to the Journey of Reconciliation. This has included: the Mayor declaring 2016 as the Year of Reconciliation; the City supporting the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action (43, 47, 57, 75, 77); over 70 percent of civic employees participating in training on residential schools to-date; establishing Winnipeg’s first Indigenous Accord; and, adopting a practice of territorial acknowledgements.

Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action

Welcoming Winnipeg aligns at a municipal level with TRC Call to Action #79 which states:

We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Survivors, Aboriginal organizations, and the arts community, to develop a reconciliation framework for Canadian heritage and commemoration this would include, but not be limited to:

  1. Amending the Historic Sites and monuments Act to include First Nations, Inuit, and Métis representation on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and its Secretariat.
  2. Revising the policies, criteria, and practices of the National Program of Historical Commemoration to integrate Indigenous history, heritage values, and memory practices into Canada’s national heritage and history.
  3. Developing and implementing a national heritage plan and strategy for commemorating residential school sites, the history and legacy of residential schools and the contributions of Aboriginal people to Canada’s history.

Welcoming Winnipeg also aligns with the set of guiding principles for truth and reconciliation developed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada1 and adopted by Winnipeg’s Indigenous Accord, the 10 principles state:

1
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is the framework for reconciliation at all levels and across all sectors of Canadian society.

2
First  Nations,  Inuit,  and  Métis  peoples,  as  the  original  peoples  of  this  country  and  as  self-determining  peoples, have Treaty, constitutional, and human rights that must be recognized and respected.

3
Reconciliation is a process of healing of relationships that requires public truth sharing, apology and commemoration that acknowledge and redress past harms.

4
Reconciliation   requires   constructive   action   on   addressing   the  ongoing  legacies  of  colonialism  that  have  had  destructive  impacts  on  Aboriginal  peoples’  education,  cultures  and  languages,  health,  child welfare, the administration of justice, and economic opportunities and prosperity.

5
Reconciliation must create a more equitable and inclusive society by closing the gaps in social, health, and economic outcomes that exist between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.

6
All Canadians, as Treaty peoples, share responsibility for establishing and maintaining mutually respectful relationships.

7
The perspectives and understandings of Aboriginal Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers of the ethics, concepts, and practices of reconciliation are vital to long-term reconciliation.

8
Supporting Aboriginal peoples’ cultural revitalization and integrating Indigenous knowledge systems, oral histories, laws, protocols, and connections to the land into the reconciliation process are essential.

9
Reconciliation requires political will, joint leadership, trust building, accountability, and transparency, as well as a substantial investment of resources.

10
Reconciliation requires sustained public education and dialogue, including  youth  engagement,  about  the  history  and  legacy  of  residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal rights, as well as the historical  and  contemporary contributions of  Aboriginal  peoples  to Canadian society.

1Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. What We Have Learned: The Principles of Truth and Reconciliation, 2015 (p. 3-4).

Documents

Document Name Date Type
Final Public Engagement Report January 14, 2020 Report
Final Public Engagement Report appendices January 14, 2020 Report
News release phase 2 July 11, 2019 Advertisement
News release phase 1 January 29, 2019 Advertisement

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why are monuments and street names important to create a welcoming space?

The City of Winnipeg acknowledges the presence of Indigenous peoples and their territory where Winnipeg now resides and where Indigenous stories and perspective are not fully reflected through historical markers, Indigenous place names, or in the memories of our shared history.

Date added: January 25, 2019

Why is the City holding a public engagement process on this topic?

The public engagement strategy and activities scheduled in Winnipeg are necessary to invite input from the public on this important matter that is occurring nationally.

Of major cities in Canada, Winnipeg has the largest population of Indigenous peoples representing nations who have resided here for millennia. For this reason, it is imperative that Winnipeg takes leadership to build knowledge and understanding on this important matter.

Date added: January 25, 2019

Why is this only about Indigenous people and not other groups or communities?

We recognize that this issue is sensitive and complex and occurring on a national scale within various municipalities across Canada. Of major cities in Canada, Winnipeg has the largest population of Indigenous peoples representing nations who have resided here for millennia. The City of Winnipeg acknowledges the presence of Indigenous peoples and their territory where Winnipeg now resides, and where Indigenous stories and perspective are not fully reflected through historical markers, Indigenous place names, or in the memories of our shared history.

Date added: January 25, 2019

How are you ensuring that Indigenous people will be able to participate and provide their input?

We are working on various approaches and methods to ensure Indigenous people are included as part of this public engagement process. Ongoing consultation with Indigenous peoples is occurring to obtain guidance and input to inform this work and future related activities.

Date added: January 25, 2019

Is the City going to be tearing down monuments and renaming streets like has happened in other cities?

Welcoming Winnipeg is an initiative that responds to the national dialogue in major Canadian cities to re-examine historical markers and place names to resolve the absence of Indigenous perspectives, experiences, and contributions in the stories remembered and commemorated in Canadian cities. The City is opening the discussion with all Winnipeggers through this public engagement process, and will include direct public engagement and consultation with Indigenous peoples.

Date added: January 25, 2019

What is the outcome of this project going to be?

The feedback gathered through the public engagement process, including direct engagement and consultation with Indigenous peoples, will be compiled and used to help inform recommendations for Council’s consideration.

Date added: January 25, 2019

Where can I learn more about the City’s commitment to reconciliation efforts?

For more information, please consult City of Winnipeg – Journey of Reconciliation.

Date added: January 25, 2019

How can I get involved/provide feedback?

There are a number of ways to get involved in the Welcoming Winnipeg initiative. Visit the Engage tab to learn more.

Date added: January 25, 2019

Maps

View the dataset in Open Data.

Videos

Related Links

Keep learning with Winnipeg Public Library

Visit the Welcoming Winnipeg section of the Library's Indigenous Info Guide to find:

  • reading lists created just for this initiative
  • information about the ideaMILL at Millennium Library
  • the Library's local history resources, including access to newspaper archives
  • books and other publications by the panelists from Welcoming Winnipeg's March 13th event
Last update: September 3, 2020

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