The Blog

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

Star Blanket Art Project Unveiling

March 17, 2017

On March 15, 2017, we held an event at our office to celebrate the completion of our newest art project, a community star blanket.

The art piece was an idea thought-up by the Project’s Parent Guide Group – a group of parents and caregivers living in the North End. They wanted to create a traditional Indigenous star blanket and have it decorated with art created by community residents from all around the Point Douglas neighbourhood area.

Submissions for the blanket were collected throughout 2016 by visiting different non-profit organizations and community events around Point Douglas. The group asked the question “What do we need in order to maintain healthy relationships with our partners, families, and community?” and what was created was a diverse mix of drawings and words that covered a variety of topics, both straight-forward and abstract.

These drawings were then scanned and turned into digital designs to be printed onto transfer paper and ironed onto the blanket. The result was an art piece that reflected the neighbourhood in which it was created – a diverse mix of contributions that came together to form one cohesive design.

We were lucky enough to be honoured with a song by one of our students, Carla Kirkpatrick, and a teaching from Elder Cheryl Alexander, who provided the background and ceremonial meaning of the star blanket.

She taught us that the idea of a star blanket holds many parallels to The Winnipeg Boldness Project, in that it symbolizes a child at the centre of the star with layers of people and systems around the child, keeping it safe. Each of the individual diamonds that makes up the star design represents a piece of knowledge that the child will learn throughout its lifetime. The 8 points of the star provide balance, with 2 points in each direction (North, South, East, and West) symbolizing our grandmothers and grandfathers, and day/night.

Blankets can be a ceremonial gift as well, used to show respect and honour, which seems very appropriate for this purpose as it shows an immense respect for the North End community and the people living here, and demonstrates the strong community spirit and pride that its residents have for their home.

The blanket will soon tour the city by being displayed at several community spaces for public viewing. If you’re interested in having the blanket displayed in your community space please send an email to to make arrangements.

If you would like to see more photos from our event, visit our Facebook photo album 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.