Local community Pow Wow honours Axworthy legacy

Pow Wow 1 WEB

Photo: Sharon Redsky, Manager Wii Chiiwaakanak; Dr. Lloyd Axworthy; Denise Ommanney  and Pow Wow Club youth- June 3, 2014

WINNIPEG, MB –More than 60 community residents who frequent The University of Winnipeg’s Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre came together for an evening of celebration to honour  Dr. Lloyd Axworthy’s ten years of dedicated service in advancing community learning programs that are free and accessible to all.  Axworthy’s wife Denise Ommanney was also singled out for her early and unwavering support for Wii Chiiwaakanak, which continued as she presented the Centre with a $12,000 cheque last evening to support ongoing programming and most specifically, the Sacred Seven Healthy Relationship program.

Wii Chiiwaakanak, which means partner in the Anishinaabe language, is a bridge between UWinnipeg and Aboriginal and inner-city communities. The Centre was established in 2005 through Dr. Axworthy’s leadership in full partnership with the community.  It has operated with the help of a volunteer advisory committee which is now evolving to become a Board of Directors made up equally of university and community members. This governance model is successfully used by UWinnipeg’s Community Renewal Corporation.

More than 1,700 community members enjoy the Wii Chiiwaakanak Centre each month as an educational gathering place that is both free and inclusive. The Centre provides open access to computers in the RBC Community Learning Commons, meeting space such as the North West Company Heritage Room, as well as a number of free educational and cultural after-school and summer programs.

pOW wOW 2 web

Learning to dance – Pow Wow Club – June 3, 2014

The Sacred Seven Healthy Relationship program, funded through the Canadian Women’s Foundation, has been working with 50 urban Aboriginal youth under the principles of cultural identity, increasing engagement, fostering empowerment and establishing effective relationships. In the month of June, youth will be presenting the Sacred Seven Teachings through a Hoop Dance and basketball demonstration at five Winnipeg schools.

 “Lloyd and I are very pleased to help fund the Sacred Seven program,” said Ommanney. “There is nothing we would rather support than a program like this, designed to teach boys and girls how to build strong, respectful, meaningful relationships that draw on teachings from  Indigenous culture and traditions.”

Dr. Axworthy is retiring as President and Vice-Chancellor of UWinnipeg on June 27, 2014.


The University of Winnipeg’s Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre offers multiple programs year-round. Currently, it offers the following programs:

  • Get Into Gear – Friday workshop all summer at the UWSA Bike Lab designed to educate youth on the mechanics of bicycles, environmental sustainability, and personal fitness. All youth receive their own bicycle that they will build themselves from scratch, a brand new helmet & lock, and the skills needed to keep their bicycles in working order.
  • Intermediate Computer Training – Saturdays – provides learners with enhanced confidence and knowledge in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint & Excel, cloud-based and portable storage skills
  • Let’s Speak Ojibwe to Our Kids! – Every Tuesday, this cultural program provides parents, children, and individuals of all ages with a chance to learn about ceremony, the Ojibwe language, and traditional beliefs in a safe and fun environment with community elders encouraging them
  • Math Readiness – an August workshop provides students from ages 9-12 with the opportunity to sharpen their math skills while participating in fun activities with university students, and outings within The University of Winnipeg. This program will ensure students will return to school with an enhanced confidence in their math skills. All students will be rewarded with a certificate and back-to-school supplies
  • Pow Wow Club – Every Tuesday evening, with snacks provided
  • Reading Circle – Every Thursday, children and volunteers get together to enjoy books and stories, We encourage families with preschool children to join. Our circle focuses on Aboriginal literature, fun crafts and activities.

Find out more about Community Learning and Indigenous programs at UWinnipeg.

– 30 –



Diane Poulin, Senior Communications Specialist, The University of Winnipeg

P: 204.988.7135, E: d.poulin@uwinnipeg.ca









Comments are closed.