The Blog

Follow along as we work towards systems change and help create better outcomes for kids in our community.

Granny’s House

January 30, 2020

We have been holding in this exciting news for what seems like a long time, and we’re so excited to finally be able to share it! As you may have seen on social media, we celebrated the opening of Granny’s House (AKA Kookum’s House) yesterday and we’re just bursting with happiness and gratitude for this huge commitment from the Manitoba Government to help support an innovative, new family resource.

Granny’s House is a literal house in the North End that will provide a place for parents to drop their kids off when they need some support or a bit of time to themselves, whether this be due to stress, illness, or if they just need to get some errands done. Many of our families include multiple children, and it can be very difficult to do things like grocery shopping or appointments when you have several kids in tow. The idea is that Granny’s House will have the feel of dropping your children off at your kookum’s house for the afternoon – a place that is safe, warm, and comfortable.

The ultimate goal behind providing this program is to support families in a community-centred way, in order to work towards a larger outcome of helping to reduce the number of children who are coming into the care of Child and Family Services (CFS).  There are potentially a number of families who might be able to avoid getting involved with the CFS system if they were provided appropriate resources when they’re needed most. We hope that Granny’s House can be that to the community – a place to find some trusted care and support in a setting that is culturally safe and family-centred.

Granny’s House is an initiative led by Gwekaanimad – a collaborative that includes several organizations based in the North End including: Andrews Street Family Centre, Blue Thunderbird Family Care, Mount Carmel Clinic, Wahbung Abinoonjiiag, and The Winnipeg Boldness Project. The house itself will be run by Blue Thunderbird Family Care, and Gwekaanimad—an Ojibwe word meaning “the wind changes directions”— will provide referrals, promote the initiative, and provide guidance and support throughout this process.

Our hope is that this pilot program will provide evidence that more resources such as this need to exist, and that community-led, preventative supports are necessary to increase family togetherness in the North End.

If you want to learn more about Granny’s House, listen to #wpgboldness project director, Diane Roussin, talk about what it is and how it works on CBC Radio by clicking here.


Land Acknowledgement

The Winnipeg Boldness Project resides in and works on the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary lands of the Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe), Anishinabewaki (Oji-Cree), Dené, Michif Piyii (Métis), Nêhiyawak (Cree), and Očhéthi Sakowin (Dakota). We recognize that we have benefited from and continue to benefit from colonization on the Treaty 1, Treaty 3, and Treaty 5 Territories.

It is important to also acknowledge how we benefit in this territory at the cost to Indigenous Peoples. Winnipeg has been drinking clean water for over a century via an aqueduct from Shoal Lake. In 1917, 3000 acres of Treaty 3 was declared property of the city of Winnipeg to build the aqueduct. This aqueduct was built over ancestral burial ground, to build these structures, the ancestors were disinterred and reburied. Construction of the aqueduct changed the waters significantly, causing the peninsula to become a man-made island. This now isolated Nation faced many challenges as a direct result from this aqueduct; Necessities like water, groceries, schools, and mail were only accessible via the dangerous trek to the mainland. Lives of adults and children were lost crossing to and from the mainland. Freedom Road, an all-weather road access finally opened summer 2019, over a century after displacement. This road, a testament to the success of Indigenous-led solutions, helps bring materials to build schools and a water treatment plant.

“I always think of it, even when I turn on the tap I’m like this comes from our community and this water probably contains our ancestors and the spirits of our ancestor. I think about the hardships of the people from Shoal Lake 40 who have gone through so many things for the benefit of Winnipeg’s drinking water,” says Angelina McLeod.1

Another benefit we reap in Winnipeg at a cost to Indigenous Peoples and land is the Hydro Electricity Development in Treaty 5. To optimize water movement for greatest power production the Province of Manitoba increased waterflow by creating the Churchill River Diversion in 1976. The modification of the waterflow caused flooding, shoreline erosion, and changes to water quality. This destruction of habitat has caused disruption to waterway travel, fishing, and hunting.