The Blog

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

Guest Contributor: Gregg Hanson – Every Child is a Gift

December 04, 2014

I am delighted to be the Chair of the Stewardship Group for the Winnipeg Boldness Project. This initiative has great potential for at least three reasons. First, it is lead by an intelligent, experienced innovative team who are building on prior successes. Second, it is focusing on the science and research of early childhood development to give young children a better chance of future success. Third, it is engaging the community to ensure that they play a primary role in their own self determination.

Diane Roussin, project director for the Winnipeg Boldness Project, is a capable, determined individual with strong leadership skills. I have worked with her before and I know she has the ability to drive this project forward to success. Her team is motivated and they are collaborating with a broad cross section of the Point Douglas community to build a clear strategy.

I believe that every child is a sacred gift to society. We have an obligation to give each child an equitable opportunity to form a sense of belonging, to obtain a good education, and to live in a respectful environment that in turn allows them to reach their full potential. This is something that we will all benefit from as a society. For my own part I am committed to this cause.

In my journey, I have been fortunate to meet and make friends with some exceptional Indigenous people. They are working so hard to improve the situations and outcomes for their people who have experienced injustices. I truly believe Indigenous people cannot face these challenges alone and we cannot impose solutions on them. Instead, we must work together, shoulder to shoulder with them, to address the inequities of the past and provide a more promising future for us all.

The future of our province depends upon all of us embracing the rich culture, history and heritage that were here before the settlers ever arrived. The future always belongs to our children and we have a vested interest in ensuring that those children succeed starting with the earliest stages of life.  I will do my part, will you?

Gregg Hanson
Chair of Stewardship Committee
The Winnipeg Boldness Project

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.