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(By CBC News · Winnipeg, MB – June 28, 2022 – Used with Permission) – The number of signatories to Winnipeg’s Indigenous Accord jumped well past the 200-mark on Tuesday with 31 additional local organizations and businesses adding their names.

The total number of partners is now 227.

The accord, a document intended to further the cause of reconciliation between the city’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, was first signed by more than 80 groups in June 2017.

It is rooted in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action as well as the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls calls for justice.

Signing on means committing to a continuing responsibility to reconciliation, the city says. Partners commit to setting goals, implementing action plans, and are required to report yearly on the success of their efforts.

“The intent of the Indigenous Accord is to create a ripple effect in the community of action with respect to reconciliation,” Mayor Brian Bowman said following Tuesday’s signing ceremony.

“I’m really hopeful, by the number of new partners to the Indigenous Accord that keep coming on each year, including at today’s ceremony, that this will continue.”

The ceremony took place in the Oodena Celebration Circle at The Forks, steps away from the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, a location that has been a meeting and trading place for more than 6,000 years, beginning with Indigenous people and then fur traders and settlers.

The Indigenous Accord signing ceremony took place in the Oodena Celebration Circle at The Forks. (Sam Samson/CBC)

The new partners who signed onto the accord are:

  • Albert House Inc.
  • Bird Construction.
  • Canadian Museum for Human Rights (renewing its commitment).
  • Canupawakpa Dakota Nation.
  • Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba.
  • College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Manitoba.
  • Emerge Knowledge Design Inc.
  • KIDTHINK Children’s Mental Health Centre Inc.
  • Knowledge Bureau.
  • LM Architectural Group.
  • Manitoba Aerospace.
  • Manitoba Archaeological Society.
  • Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.
  • Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak.
  • Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association.
  • MMIWG2S+ Advisory Committee.
  • Mosaic Newcomer Family Resource Network.
  • Opportunities for Employment.
  • Payworks.
  • Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada.
  • Siloam Mission (renewing).
  • Sioux Valley Dakota Nation.
  • Stantec.
  • Taylor McCaffrey LLP.
  • Treaty One Development Corporation.
  • Treaty One Nation.
  • Tribal Councils Investment Group of Manitoba Ltd.
  • Tunngasugit.
  • Vincent Massey Collegiate.
  • Winnipeg Airports Authority.
  • Winnipeg Railway Museum.

Nikki Komaksiutiksak signed the accord on behalf of Tunngasugit, western Canada’s first Inuit resource centre, based in Winnipeg.

The centre opened three years ago, but the first two years were defined by a pandemic. Komaksiutiksak feels it was a duty on her part bring more awareness of it and the Inuit

“We’re Canadians and people need to be made aware of that,” she said. “For us, signing the accord is being able to educate the general public about who Inuit are, where we come from, and our stories.”

Nikki Komaksiutiksak, acting executive director for Tunngasugit, western Canada’s first Inuit resource centre, based in Winnipeg. (Trevor Lyons/CBC)

The accord was launched two years after a January 2015 cover story in Macleans magazine labelled Winnipeg as Canada’s most racist city.

The article prompted Bowman to form a special committee, the Mayor’s Indigenous Advisory Circle, a few months later to advise the city on ways to “build awareness, bridges and understanding” between the aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities.

The idea of the accord was then presented in 2016, which Bowman declared the Year of Reconciliation, making diversity training mandatory for all city staff.

The Indigenous Accord was cemented in March 2017 when the city’s executive policy committee established the framework.

“This is a very special gathering, today, because it represents our continuing, growing transformation in Winnipeg as we walk together in mutual respect,” Bowman said at Tuesday’s event.

“We’ve come a long way. The conversations that we’re having about truth and reconciliation are a lot more real, a lot more authentic, than they were in previous generations and that gives me hope that we’re better equipped and willing to tackle some of these issues head on.

“There will be voices of hate and intolerance in the community and we need to just continue to press ahead.”

The city accepts partner applications throughout the year. Anyone interested in viewing the accord and submitting a request to become a partner, can visit the link on the City of Winnipeg’s website.

With files from Sam Samson

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