Indigenous Placemaking in Downtown Winnipeg
Established, in concert with Indigenous leaders, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s Aboriginal peoples’ Advisory Committee, which aims to act as a formal liaison point between the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s Management Board and Indigenous peoples/stakeholders. Supported this committee with the implementation of several initiatives, aimed at acknowledging and celebrating Indigenous history, culture and traditions. An Indigenous Artwalk was launched in 2016 putting Indigenous art on display in storefront windows along Portage Avenue. Decals that expressed a feeling of welcome – in Indigenous languages like Ojibwe, Cree, Dene, Michif, Dakota, and Inuktitut – were installed at over 100 businesses, and later adopted by the City of Winnipeg for placement in public recreational facilities. A partnership with Manito Ahbee Festival was formed to help the festival reach a larger audience, inviting both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to participate. Weeks leading up to the festival, the BIZ infused its own programs with Manito Ahbee musicians, performers, and artisans. A series of ideas and strategies were outlined at a press conference in 2016 to address the challenges of inclusion and safety for Indigenous people at Portage Place.