The Blog

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

Our Roots: Where We Belong

September 30, 2015

In November of 2014, The Winnipeg Boldness Project unveiled our PhotoVoice project. “Through my Own Eyes: A Visual Narrative of Life in the North End,” was created through sharing cameras with residents of Point Douglas, and asking them to document what was special to them in their community. The resulting piece combined both research and artistic expression, and was a creative way to engage the community and find out what is really important to the families who live in the North End.

Now that the PhotoVoice is complete and making its rounds at various locations around the city (the United Way, the Millennium Library, The University of Manitoba, and the Legislative Building, to name a few), the project was looking for a new activity in which we could engage with North End families. Creating a research based community mosaic seemed like a productive way to get feedback from the families living in Point Douglas, all while creating a piece of art that could travel around the community, and other locations in the city.

A mosaic is an art piece created by bringing together many small elements to create a large, singular whole. Every individual piece is important, and if one piece were to go missing, the mosaic wouldn’t be complete. This ancient art practice is still being continued today, and the mosaic is often used to create a visual narrative that will document civilizations. From agricultural practices to revolution, throughout history, these art pieces communicate what is most important to the people who made them. Through the adaptation of this art practice into a research tool, the Winnipeg Boldness Project set out to ask North Enders, “What is the most important contributing factor to the success of families living in Point Douglas?”

Over the summer of 2015, the Project invited residents of Point Douglas to design their own tile for this community mosaic art piece. By attending events such as the Austin Street Festival and Picnic and the Park, nearly one hundred different contributions were made. Over half of those tiles clearly stated that “love” was the most important thing to families living in Point Douglas. Other important themes included drawings of happy, smiling families, and Indigenous knowledge rooted in the seven sacred teachings.

Together with the Project’s Parent Guide Group, the project reflected on the overwhelming themes of love and togetherness that are so prominent in Point Douglas. Our Guide Group members agreed that families in Point Douglas share many of the same struggles and experiences, and felt that the mosaic was a valuable tool in sharing their stories. The name, “Our Roots: Where We Belong,” expresses the strength of the North End’s spirit – a community who stands strong together, strives together.

Kevin Shingoose, a Point Douglas father who participates in our Parent Guide Group, painted the black and white background to complete the piece, with his own original artwork.

On October 8th, we are opening the doors of our office space for the big reveal, and hope that community members and those interested in community development will join us for a small reception with refreshments. Afterwards, the piece will start is own journey around the city, similar to the PhotoVoice, and we will start to brainstorm our next art informed research project.

Our Roots: Where We Belong
Mosaic Community Art Piece Unveiling

Date: October 8, 2015
Time: 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Location: Unit 5 – 585 Jarvis Ave

Everyone welcome! Admission is free!

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.