The City of Winnipeg recognizes the importance of the original peoples - First Nations, Metis and Inuit - to the founding of our city. Each contributed culture, values and vision - contributions that will continue to be important to our shared future.
The Red and Assinboine rivers are well travelled, with their use as major transport routes dating as far back as 4000 BCE. For millennia, Ojibwa, Cree Assinboine and Dakota nations lived alongside and travelled through these waterways. It is from where these two rivers meet that Winnipeg (Cree for 'muddy waters') emerged to become a vibrant fishing, trading and farming economy. The arrival of newcomers to this territory over a century ago saw the original peoples share these lands, rivers, and resources. It's a relationship that to continues to this day.
The City of Winnipeg will honour this relationship by recognizing the significant contributions of Indigenous people while working to meet the common vision and needs articulated by all citizens, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike. Thse include calls to action in areas like community consultation, safety, housing and transportation.
Today, the vibrant, diverse people who make up the larger Indigenous community enrich and enliven the social fabric of Winnipeg: they remain vital to its economic and cultural future.
History and Previous City Initiatives
In 2000, Winnipeg endorsed the Maskwachees Declaration. This provided a commitment by the City to be a partner with the Indigenous community to reinforce traditional, cultural and spiritural values while addressing issues related to poverty, unemployment, training and education.
In 2001, Winnipeg City Council adopted its long-range policy document; "Plan Winnipeg 2020 Vision." Under Plan Winnipeg 2020 Vision, the City's obligation toward our Indigenous community is specific and unequivocal. Policy Statement 2A-03 requires the City to promote Self-Reliant Indigenous Communities by:
- Supporting the creation of links between the City of Winnipeg and Indigenous Communities to ensure appropriateness of services and to increase participation in City affairs;
- Identifying and pursuing joint ventures between the City and the private sector or non-governmental organizations that increase or enhance job opportunities and economic development for Indigenous people in Winnipeg; and
- Increasing awareness among Winnipeggers and visitors about the richness of the City's Indigenous Communities.
In 2002, The Aboriginal Employee Group (AEG) was established to provide information and leadership to the organization and employees on Indigenous issues and resources. First Nations, Metis and Inuit employees within the organization are invited to participate in the group. Non-Indigenous persons are invited to join as a Friend of AEG.
The vision of the AEG is to "provide a foundation of supports and resources available to new and current City of Winnipeg Indigenous employees" and the mission is to "partner with the City of Winnipeg employees to create a healthy work environment for all public servants."
In 2003, the First Steps: Municipal Aboriginal Pathways (MAP) was adopted; it was Council's foundational Aboriginal policy. MAP was intended as a secondary plan which identifies key strategic challenges which the City must address to meet the policy direction set out in Plan Winnipeg 2020. This involved implementing 15 initiatives in 5 policy pathways.
In 2008, the City of Winnipeg Mayor took the responsibility of Secretary of Urban Aboriginal Opportunities. This was a strong signal to the Indigenous community that the Mayor and Council were prioritizing the urban Indigenous community.
In 2008, City Council passed a motion to adopt the Aboriginal Youth Strategy. The key priorities, as identified with the community, are:
- Building and supporting healthy families;
- Economic development and employment development opportunities;
- Education and keeping children in school;
To give Indigenous youth positive opportunities in the community and civic system by bridging and providing culturally appropriate programs and supports related to employment, literacy and recreation to increase resiliency, self-sustainability, pride and future opportunities.
It has been funded at $1,000,000 per year since 2008.
In 2009, The City of Winnipeg was gifted the name Oshki Annishinabe Nigaaniwak for its Aboriginal Youth Strategy; which is Ojibway for Young Indigenous People Leading. For more details go to Naming Ceremony
In July 2010, the Government of Canada, Manitoba and Winnipeg signed a Memorandum of Collaboration (MOC) to work together on actions and mechanisms to improve the socio-economic outcomes for Indigenous people in Winnipeg and the capacity of Indigenous organizations. Through collaboration parties sought to align activities, resources and efforts to achieve the best possible outcomes.
In 2011 OurWinnipeg was adopted in with the City of Winnipeg. It recognizes the importance of the original peoples, First Nations, Metis and Inuit to the founding of our city. Each contributed cultures, values and vision - contributions that will continue to be important to our shared future.