Campus Welcome Celebrates Indigenous Languages

Indigenous language banner hangs at UWinnipeg entrance

Indigenous language banner hangs at UWinnipeg entrance

News release by Downtown Winnipeg BIZ

 Indigenous Welcome Banner by Downtown Winnipeg BIZ

Indigenous Welcome Banner supplied by Downtown Winnipeg BIZ

Downtown Winnipeg businesses & city recreation centres install decals with message of welcome

In an effort to create a sense of place and a feeling of welcome, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s Aboriginal Peoples’ Advisory Committee launched a new initiative today that will invite downtown businesses to install decals with the word “welcome” translated in Indigenous languages: Ojibwe, Cree, Dene, Michif, Dakota, and Inuktitut. Businesses leaders in attendance, who helped install the first decal at Portage Place Shopping Centre, took part in a workshop to learn more about the historical and contemporary issues that relate to the Treaties and what this means for Winnipeg and its downtown today. The City of Winnipeg also announced how it will be posting these decals in downtown and inner-city recreational facilities.

“The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s Aboriginal Peoples’ Advisory Committee believes it can play a role in inspiring downtown businesses to find and create opportunities to enhance and improve mutual respect for all Indigenous peoples,” says Lisa Meeches, a member of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s Aboriginal Peoples’ Advisory Committee. “By encouraging greater awareness of the importance of the Indigenous community in our downtown, it will hopefully unite the community, promote cross-cultural celebration and awareness, and further economic development opportunities.”

Annette Trimbee helps unveil decal, April 18, photo by Downtown BIZ

Annette Trimbee helps unveil decal, April 18, photo by Downtown BIZ

The Indigenous Languages Decal Initiative is a powerful and symbolic initiative that celebrates Indigenous arts and languages. This initiative is a challenge to downtown businesses to work towards greater reconciliation with the Indigenous community, and in fostering understanding, respect, and dignity for all. Here is full list of participating businesses and venues.

“We are proud to acknowledge that our downtown campus is located on Treaty One land, in the heart of the Métis homeland. In this Year of Reconciliation, part of our work is to help build a culture that is welcoming, inclusive and based on mutual understanding and respect,” said Dr. Annette Trimbee, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Winnipeg.  “We are pleased to partner today with the Downtown BIZ in visibly celebrating the diversity of Indigenous languages that are a thriving part of our city.”

The University of Winnipeg has prominently displayed the new welcome banner at the main entrance to campus (Centennial Hall).

About the Indigenous Languages Decal Design

The word “welcome” was translated with assistance from the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s Aboriginal Peoples’ Advisory Committee, Aboriginal Languages Inc., and the University of Winnipeg.

The design features a sunrise/sunset element to represent the directions that Portage Ave. runs (North to South). The colour palette is that of a sunrise/sunset which is warm and welcoming. A sunrise can represent new beginnings and the start of something new and enlightening.

The plant illustration in the corners of the design is of sweet grass, which in some Indigenous cultures is a sacred plant used in spiritual ceremonies. Sweet grass is a prairie native plant but also grows in low meadows, forest openings, and lake shores. Sweet grass is known to have a healing effect and when burned, the smoke is believed to eliminate negative thoughts.

The tan colour in the middle of the design is representative of the grass fields of the prairie landscape, and the blues at the bottom of the rivers and lakes throughout Winnipeg and Manitoba.

About the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ Aboriginal Peoples’ Advisory Committee

Initiated in 2014, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s Aboriginal Peoples’ Advisory Committee, aims to act as a formal liaison point between the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s Management Board and Indigenous peoples/stakeholders.

In the spirit of partnership and collaboration, the objectives of this committee are two-fold: (a) to encourage feedback from Indigenous peoples on the programs led by the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ and (b) to acknowledge Indigenous history, culture, and traditions. The BIZ’s Aboriginal Peoples’ Advisory Committee is comprised of representatives from the Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce, Manito Ahbee Festival, Red Road Lodge, Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg, Portage Place Shopping Centre, and representatives from the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s Management Board. The ideas, visions, and suggestions for Indigenous initiatives emanates from this core group, in addition to comprehensive engagement with the broader community.

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MEDIA INQUIRIES

Emily Ormonde, Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Downtown Winnipeg BIZ

Email: emily@downtownwinnipegbiz.com

Phone: (204) 958-4626

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