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Kinew to head up new indigenous advisory council for mayor

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/6/2015 (1637 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

=The sound of fiddle music and hoop dancers filled Winnipeg city hall Monday morning, as Mayor Brian Bowman announced the creation of a new advisory body on aboriginal issues.

The mayor’s indigenous advisory circle will advise city hall on how best to bridge the city’s aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities.

Bowman said the genesis for the advisory council came from the aftermath of Maclean’s magazine naming Winnipeg as the country’s most racist city.

"We need to build bridges in this community," Bowman said during a formal news conference in the foyer outside his office, as he announced the members of the circle, many of whom attended the morning event.

"Racism affects all people and even if it doesn’t affect you directly, it still affects us and our kids’ future."

Broadcaster and university administrator Wab Kinew will chair the new 20-members group, which will also include Justice Murray Sinclair, Treaty Commissioner Jamie Wilson, several aboriginal elders, and owners from the city’s aboriginal business community.

Kinew said the circle will help city hall develop policies to achieve the reconciliation that Sinclair’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission says is needed to resolve issues from the residential school legacy.

Wab Kinew will chair the new group.


Wab Kinew will chair the new group.

"You see in front of you here a very diverse group of First Nation, Métis and Inuit people who are committed to making this city a better place for everyone and also a place that fully celebrates the richness, and the wisdom and strength of indigenous cultures," Kinew said.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission laid out a road map for the country to follow, Kinew said, but it will be the goal of the advisory circle to suggest ways reconciliation can occur in meaningful way.

"What everyone up here is committed to doing... is to figure out how to actually make that work on the ground level, how do we actually move forward on topics like making it safe for women and girls, jobs for indigenous people, educating the city staff to the history and culture of indigenous peoples, all to work towards the goal of making this place a more powerful and more vibrant city.

"As business people, as First Nation, Métis and Inuit people we know full well the damage that some parts of our history have caused," Kinew said. "I think it’s really important for all Winnipeggers to understand that we’re all poorer for those dark aspects of our past... It’s time for us to step up and say now is the time we’re going to improve this relationship and we’re going to make sure every child in this country is capable of reaching their full potential."

Bowman said he and Kinew had spent the previous several months inviting individuals to sit on the circle.

The advisory circle will meet on a quarterly basis, with the first meeting in mid-September, to coincide with an anti-racism summit jointly hosted with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.


Aldo Santin

Aldo Santin

Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.

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Updated on Monday, June 22, 2015 at 11:05 AM CDT: Updated art.

11:21 AM: Adds video from Monday and archive video from January

2:41 PM: Adds list of members of advisory council.

3:35 PM: Writethru.

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