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Manitoba Pipestone - July 2015


Compiled by Shari Narine







Deputy Premier of the NorthWest Territories,
Jack Lafferty (second from left), was just one of many to put acts of
reconciliation into the Bentwood Box over the six years the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission held events.


CMHR to examine leadership role

The carved Bentwood Box, that was used to
collect offerings of reconciliation during events hosted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, will be part of a new exhibit to open shortly at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg. “We agree with the TRC that this museum can play a critical role in raising awareness, holding honest conversations and taking steps towards reconciliation,” said CMHR interim president and CEO Gail Stephens.

In the meantime, the Bentwood Box will be displayed in the museum's introductory gallery. In December, the Witness Blanket will be displayed at CMHR. The blanket is a large-scale installation made of hundreds of items of residential schools supplied by survivors.

CMHR is examining ways to reflect the significance of the new TRC report and to work with others to advance reconciliation and the human rights of all. In its summary of its final report, the TRC noted that the CMHR had potential as a leader in educating and raising awareness among Canadians by engaging visitors in an examination of the historical violations against Indigenous peoples, as well as their resilience and survival. This includes creating opportunities to broaden the discussion about the issue of genocide as it relates to the residential school system.


Drag the Red River gets professional training

Volunteers dragging the Red River have received help in forensics from anthropologists at the University of Winnipeg.
Researchers and volunteers with Drag the Red came together at the UWinnipeg recently for a course on how to search more safely and effectively. Emily Holland, an anthropology professor at Brandon University and a trained forensic specialist, said one of the purposes of the course was to give volunteers a basic framework for how to spot bones in their search areas. Drag the Red organizer Bernadette Smith said the extra help is
encouraging her and other volunteers to keep at it, despite the challenges encountered last year. Drag the Red plans to search every day until October.


Delayed approval of TLE costing First Nations

Churchill MP Niki Ashton says inaction on the part of the federal government is preventing the approval of the Treaty Land Entitlement for Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation at Nelson House. Ashton challenged the federal government during Question Period in the House of Commons on May 29, saying Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt had given no reason why he was delaying approving 15 TLEs in Manitoba. Greg Bickford, parliamentary
secretary to the Aboriginal Affairs minister, did not provide a timeline, but said, “We take the matter of addition to reserve and TLE lands very seriously, as we do improving economic conditions on reserve, and that’s why we have continued to invest in on-reserve infrastructure.” An agreement between the two levels of government and Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation that would see 79,345 acres of Crown land and a federal government payment of $1,933,017 go to the nation was reached, but is one of six in Northern Manitoba – along with those between the two levels of government and Fox Lake, Mathias Colomb Cree Nation (including Marcel Colomb First Nation), Sayisi Dene, Shamattawa and York Factory – that had not been executed as of May 13, 2011, when a facts page on TLE in Manitoba was last updated.


Bowman speaks out against racism

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman continued to speak out against racism as he gave opening comments at a recent Bridging the Racial
Gap workshop at Thunderbird House. Bowman has been vocal since Maclean’s Magazine printed an article in January accusing the city of being the most racist urban centre in the country. “I want all Winnipegers regardless of their background to be proud of who we are as a people and as a community.” Bowman, who has Metis heritage, plans to hold a press conference in January 2016, a year after the Maclean’s article was published, and provide solid
evidence of what has been done in Winnipeg to address racism.


First Chair in History of Indigenous Arts sought

The Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Department of History at the University of Winnipeg are searching for the first Chair in the History of Indigenous Arts of North America, a new, shared position. Scheduled to begin Aug. 1, 2015, the chair is at the rank of assistant professor and assistant curator. The new chair/curator will be primarily responsible for researching and developing a series of courses and exhibitions designed to engage, enhance, and develop the area of Indigenous art history at both the university and the gallery. The position aligns with the goals of inclusivity, accessibility, diversity, and public engagement as stated within the strategic plans for the WAG and UWinnipeg. “Our futures are interlinked and I am so
pleased that UWinnipeg and our partners at the Winnipeg Art Gallery are at the forefront of building understanding and cultural literacy,” said Dr. Annette Trimbee, president and vice-chancellor of UWinnipeg.

Compiled by Shari Narine