June 20, 2017
Hundreds of people gathered at the Forks under blue skies and in balmy solstice heat to witness 80 organizations including Indigenous, education, business and cultural groups sign the Winnipeg Indigenous Accord.
MTS President Norm Gould made a tobacco offering and signed the historic accord on behalf of the Society.
Gould said The Manitoba Teachers’ Society has set a goal to honour the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #62. “We will work with educational partners in Manitoba and Canada to provide professional learning for educators.” He said the Society has been actively raising awareness of Indigenous history, peoples and issues among its MTS members and the educational community for over a decade now. (Complete list here)
Winnipeg’s Mayor Brian Bowman said the vision for the Winnipeg Indigenous Accord “came from nine Winnipeg high schools”. He said the accord will “help keep Winnipeg moving forward in strengthening our relationships with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples, organizations, and individuals.”
“It is in your hearts and action that we can make change today,” said Grand Chief Derek Nepinak in his opening remarks.
Speaking of his own troubled youth, Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Kevin Hart said, “There is hope that we can change our lives around and do good for our people….We’re not bad kids, we’re just unheard voices.”
Mayor Bowman’s Indigenous Advisory Circle emphasizes the Accord is a living document, “not a single-time event.
“It will also encourage Indigenous and non-Indigenous Winnipeggers to work together in partnership and mutual respect as the Treaties first envisioned.”