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An emotional thing:’ Returning sacred objects lifts Indigenous communities – CP

Source: The Canadian Press
Dec 15, 2017 

By Bob Weber


Ryan Heavy Hand had been helping First Nations bring home ceremonial objects from museums for years, but this call from an institution in Oregon was a first.

“The museum had a beaver bundle,” said Heavy Hand, referring to one of the Blackfoot people’s most sacred and ceremonially important objects.

Many institutions were reluctant for such items to leave their collections, but not this one.

“(This museum) actually phoned the tribe and said, ‘Can somebody come and pick this up? Our staff are hearing animals sounds in the storage .. where the bundle was kept.

“’They’d just like you to come and take it and bring it back home.”’

First Nations have been repatriating items for decades now. Masks, rattles, bundles, medicine pipes, bentwood boxes and headdresses in the hundreds have left urban museum cases and collection storehouses for the lands where they were made.

And, when they arrive, they no longer sit behind glass. Many have resumed their place at the heart of Indigenous cultural life. They have become spiritual and artistic inspirations to the descendants of those who made them.

“It definitely gave life to a lot of people,” said Jerry Potts Jr., a Piikani elder from southern Alberta, who was involved in many repatriations of Blackfoot ceremonial items. “There’s universities and collections all over that have given stuff back to the communities that’s back in full use right now.”

The movement home began in the 1970s, driven by the desire of young Indigenous people to revive their ceremonies and traditions before the elders who knew them died. Many of those ceremonies had one-of-a-kind objects at their heart and many, if not most, were in museums, universities and private collections.

Getting them back was hard work, said Heavy Hand.

In 1994, he sat down with a fat directory of museums worldwide and sent out 4,000 form letters asking them if they had any Blackfoot material. Almost 200 museums wrote back saying they did.

“There were many, many thousands of items,” he said. “All of the major museums in Canada have really big Blackfoot collections.”

On the West Coast, Andy Wilson, co-founder of the Skidegate and Haida repatriation committees, was getting summer students to look through museum catalogues and write letters.

“They had to be proactive about it,” he said. “Now, museums are starting to contact First Nations.

Sometimes negotiations took months; sometimes they took years.

Museums were reluctant to part with some artifacts or were uncertain about where they should go. First Nations had to work out who was entitled to receive the material and how the transfer should be done.

They were determined. Bundles are considered to be living things that gain strength from use and which connect their owners to their creation myths.

The objects started coming home. And, as soon as they did, the ceremonies and societies that depended on them resumed.

In 1992, a thunder medicine pipe bundle was used for the first time in 30 years. A decade or so later, the Blackfoot had possession of and were using all 25 bundles associated with the Horn society.

“I don’t think (that society) has been complete since about 1923,” wrote the late Kainai elder Frank Weasel Head in a recent book on repatriation titled “We Are Coming Home.”

For Wilson, repatriation involved artifacts and human remains. The Haida had almost lost the art of making bentwood boxes, used, among other things, for burials.

Wilson and others used the returned boxes _ and totem poles, drums, masks, paddles and rattles _ to relearn how to make them.

The boxes were painted, but not just with any design.

“It’s got to be your family crest,” said Wilson. “And if you don’t know what your crests are, then you have to go and ask your family about it. You have to open that line of communication and history.”

The return of the bentwood boxes also led people to recover the songs and language appropriate to their use.

“It’s an emotional thing,” Wilson said. “All this stuff was beaten out of them (and) when they’re doing it, they realize how much they’ve lost, so there’s quite a bit of grief in there.”

For the Blackfoot, repatriation has meant rejuvenation. Many of the traditional societies _ the Brave Dogs, the Horns _ have bounced back.

Potts said his reserve used to have the resources for one pipe ceremony a year, but now they can do two or three on the same day.

“There’s people that make vows to (bundles) for sickness, for good luck. There’s been nothing less than miracles that have happened from some of the ceremonial protocols.”

The ripples of repatriation, said Wilson, spread wider than anyone expected.

“One of the things we didn’t realize with repatriation was it said ‘Enough is enough. We’re not going to allow you to take away our ancestors, our sacred artifacts, our knowledge.’

“If we had all day, I couldn’t explain to you what it did for us.”


National Access Cannabis Establishes Landmark Limited Partnership Agreements with 3 First Nations in Manitoba

NAC and participating First Nations to host signing ceremony Friday morning

OTTAWA, Dec. 15, 2017  – National Access Cannabis Corp. (“NAC” or the “Company”) (TSX VENTURE: NAC), Canada’s best practices leader in delivering secure, safe, and responsible access to legal medical cannabis today announced that the Company has entered into Limited Partnership Agreements (the “Agreements”) with three Manitoba Indigenous First Nations. Under the terms of the Agreements, each of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation, Long Plain First Nation, and Peguis First Nation have partnered with NAC to establish a retail recreational cannabis distribution network in Manitoba, when legally permissible to do so.

Through the Agreements, NAC, in partnership with each of the three First Nations, intends to build out and operate a network of recreational cannabis stores located on the respective First Nation’s owned land in Manitoba, when legally permitted to do so and in response to the Manitoba RFP. It is intended that the locations will be staffed by First Nation’s members and trained using NAC’s proprietary model to ensure safe and secure distribution of legal cannabis.

“These unique partnerships present a fantastic economic opportunity for the participating First Nations,” said Mark Goliger, Chief Executive Officer of National Access Cannabis. “With the benefit of NAC’s established operating model, First Nation’s will supply legal cannabis, leveraging our deep knowledge of safety, security and harm reduction through a network of First Nation owned stores in Manitoba. This partnership not only supports Manitoba’s Indigenous First Nations, but also the province in meeting its obligations to provide Manitoban’s access to safe and legal cannabis. We are working towards more of these win-win partnerships here in Manitoba and elsewhere in other provinces.”

NAC and the participating First Nations will host a signing ceremony Friday, December 15, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. Central Time at NAC’s Winnipeg medical clinic. All interested media parties are invited to join.



Friday, December 15th, 2017


10:00 a.m. Central Time (11:00 a.m. Eastern Time)


NAC Winnipeg

379 Broadway #101

Winnipeg, MB

R3C 0T9

About National Access Cannabis

National Access Cannabis is Canada’s best practices leader in delivering secure, safe, and responsible access to legal medical cannabis. NAC enables patients to gain knowledge and the legal medical documentation required to navigate Canada’s disparate network of authorized Licensed Producers of Cannabis. Through its Canada-wide network of care centres, NAC has partnered with health professionals to improve the quality of life of its local members and provide services designed to inform, educate and supply expert advice.

National Access Cannabis Corp. is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol (TSXV: NAC).

Cautionary Statements

This news release contains “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable securities laws relating to the entering into of the limited partnership agreements and future developments including the establishment of a recreational cannabis distribution network in Manitoba and the structure. Although the Corporation believes in light of the experience of its officers and directors, current conditions and expected future developments and other factors that have been considered appropriate that the expectations reflected in this forward-looking information are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on them because the Corporation can give no assurance that they will prove to be correct. Readers are cautioned to not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Actual results and developments may differ materially from those that are currently contemplated by these statements depending on, among other things, the risks and failure to obtain distribution and operating licenses from applicable regulatory authorities. The Corporation undertakes no obligation to comment on analyses, expectations or statements made by third-parties in respect of the Corporation, its securities, or its financial or operating results (as applicable). The statements in this news release are made as of the date of this release.

For further information: National Access Cannabis Corp.: Mark Goliger, Chief Executive Officer, 1 (800) 411-1126,; Investor Relations: Robert Kelly, LodeRock Advisors Inc., (416) 992-4539,


Cannabis stores to be built on Manitoba First Nations lands – CBC

Stores will be staffed by First Nations band members trained by NAC experts

Dec 15, 2017

Three Manitoba First Nations are joining forces to help establish a cannabis distribution network in the province.

Opaskwayak Cree Nation, Long Plain First Nation, and Peguis First Nation are banding together with National Access Cannabis, a health-care service provider that helps patients access medical cannabis through a licensed producer.

Through the partnership, they will build and operate a network of recreational cannabis stores on First Nation land.

The locations will be staffed by First Nations band members trained by NAC “to ensure safe and secure distribution of legal cannabis,” states a news release from NAC.

Read More:

Manitoba News Release: Province Announces Indigenous Education Roundtables to Strengthen Support for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Students

December 15, 2017

The Manitoba government is holding a series of full-day Indigenous education roundtables in Winnipeg, Brandon and Thompson to strengthen education outcomes for First Nations, Métis and Inuit children, youth and adults, Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart and Indigenous and Northern Relations Minister Eileen Clarke announced today.

“Our government is committed to advancing reconciliation by working to improve education outcomes for Indigenous students,” said Wishart.  “Through these roundtables, we hope to foster meaningful engagement with Indigenous peoples and the education community to meet this commitment.”

The minister noted discussions will focus on three major themes including:

  • student and family well-being;
  • early childhood development and kindergarten to Grade 12 education; and
  • adult learning, post-secondary education and the workplace.

“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada called upon all levels of government to develop culturally appropriate early childhood education programs for Indigenous families,” said Clarke.  “The Manitoba government accepts and embraces this responsibility.”

The first roundtable discussions were held last week in Thompson, with new sessions taking place in Winnipeg Dec. 18 and 19 at 1577 Dublin Ave. and Brandon on Jan. 15 and 16, 2018, at the Brandon Friendship Centre at 836 Lorne Ave.

Each roundtable discussion will include representatives from a variety of stakeholder groups including parents, educators, health-care professionals, community-based organizations and others with a vested interest in the education and employment outcomes of Indigenous families and communities in Manitoba.

Wishart noted the information shared during these discussions, as well as a three-day collaborative process with stakeholders in January, will inform the development a long-term provincial literacy and numeracy strategy.

These events are open to the public.  Interested parties are asked to RSVP to Wanda Spence at or 204-945-4653.

– 30 –


IUS Map of the Month: At-risk trees in Winnipeg

December 13, 2017

Earlier this year, UWinnipeg’s Institute of Urban Studies (IUS) started a rotating Map of the Month web feature that turns large amounts of data into accessible visuals. These maps are created from publicly available data and are intended for public use and information.

By not including significant commentary, maps such as Winnipeg’s Year of Construction or Parking Citation Density take less than a week to produce. This also allows timely response to current events, as is the case with the map above of Winnipeg’s Tree Inventory and At-Risk Species. This week news broke that the emerald ash borer beetle had landed in Winnipeg, putting the city’s ash tree population in jeopardy.

Typically, the maps are generated at a large size and high contrast best viewed on-screen, and are not intended for print.

Click here to check out the IUS Map of the Month and see the ring-growth of the city, or where the hot-spots for parking tickets are!

About the Institute of Urban Studies

The Institute of Urban Studies is an independent research arm of The University of Winnipeg that explores urban issues in a broad, non-partisan manner. The Institute focuses on inner-city, housing, Indigenous, and urban development issues; and frequently partners with government, the private sector, and community-based organizations. Current projects include developing supports for non-profit houses as federal funding comes to an end; assisting in the upcoming 2018 Street Census of persons homeless; and conducting an in-depth examination of the Winnipeg condominium market.


Media Advisory: Manitoba Metis Federation Bringing Early Christmas to Churchill

Winnipeg, MB – The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) is bringing a little bit of Christmas to Churchill this Sunday. President David Chartrand and the MMF staff have busily been collecting items for a traditional Christmas meal and toys for the students at the Duke of Marlborough School.

“We are honoured to be able to share in the spirit of the Christmas season with the people of Churchill,” said President Chartrand. “We know that they are experiencing difficulties which are beyond their control, and we are here for the community.”

This would not be possible without the support of community partners Calm Air, Pratts Food Service and Noel Bernier.

The celebrations will be held at the Duke of Marlborough School beginning at 11 a.m. and include:

· Greetings from MMF President David Chartrand

· Light lunch

· Christmas concert featuring: Oliver Boulette, Al Desjarlais, Clint Dutiaume, Riley Dutiaume, Paul Hampton, Donny Ranville, Patti Kusturok, Tayler Fleming, Diana Desjardin, Colleen Bryce, Kathy Bryce and Gloria Desjarlais

· Prize draws

· Closing remarks and well wishes

A full media release and media kit will be available after the event.


Believe in Yourself; Believe in Métis.

The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) is the official democratic and self-governing political representative for the Métis Nation’s Manitoba Métis Community. The Manitoba Métis are Canada’s Negotiating Partner in Confederation and the Founders of the Province of Manitoba.

For media information, please contact:

Lindsay Ridgley
Director of Communications
Manitoba Metis Federation

Phone: (204) 586-8474
Cell: (204) 806-4752


Elections Manitoba releases accessibility plan

Elections Manitoba has a new accessibility plan in place, which was developed in consultation with disability organizations and builds on existing practices to provide Manitobans access to voting services.

“Accessibility is fundamental to ensuring free and fair elections,” says Chief Electoral Officer Shipra Verma. “Elections Manitoba has identified accessibility as an ongoing strategic priority. It is enshrined in Manitoba’s electoral laws and is a primary consideration in our practices and policies. We will continue to strive towards eliminating barriers to full participation in the democratic process.”

Under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA), public sector organizations in the province are required to create an accessibility plan in consultation with people who have disabilities. Elections Manitoba hosted a consultation in May of this year with representatives from seven disabilities organizations in Manitoba as well as the provincial government’s Disabilities Issues Office. Participants reviewed a draft plan, made suggestions and observations and gathered information on existing practices. Their feedback has been an integral part of developing the plan. Participating organizations included:

  • Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre
  • Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)/Vision Loss Rehabilitation Manitoba
  • Deaf Centre Manitoba
  • E-Quality Communication Centre of Excellence
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society of Canada, Manitoba Division
  • Inclusion Winnipeg
  • Society for Manitobans with Disabilities

Manitoba’s Elections Act has several provisions that support voters with disabilities. These include:

  • Election day and advance voting places must be accessible to voters with physical disabilities
  • Homebound voting, for individuals unable to leave their home due to a disability and for their caregivers
  • Braille ballot templates, that fit over a ballot and list candidates’ names in Braille
  • Voters may bring someone to assist them in casting a ballot or a voting officer may assist them
  • Curbside voting, allowing voting officers to bring the ballot box to a voter in their vehicle
  • Voting in hospitals and personal care homes

In addition, under The Election Financing Act, any reasonable disability-related expenses incurred by a candidate to allow them to campaign in an election are not considered election expenses. If a candidate receives 10% of the vote, they are reimbursed for these disability-related expenses.

Through the consultation and its own internal review, Elections Manitoba has identified priorities for building on its accessibility practices:

  • Training for headquarters and election staff on providing accessible customer service, with an emphasis on creating awareness of the range of disabilities and the importance of respect, listening and dignity. Elections Manitoba will provide in-person and video training sessions developed and presented by the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities. Delivering this training will be part of Elections Manitoba’s compliance with the Accessible Customer Service regulation under the AMA.
  • Increased promotion of existing voting opportunities for voters with disabilities. Elections Manitoba will partner with disabilities organizations to reach voters who may benefit from this information.
  • Develop policies and practices to further enhance accessibility of voting, e.g. allowing voters with assistive applications on their mobile devices to use them at voting places, make easy-grip pencils available at voting places
  • Examine the feasibility of having (a) designated voting station(s) with specialized help for voters with disabilities

To see the accessibility plan, visit Elections Manitoba’s website at For more information on The Accessibility for Manitobans Act, visit


Elections Manitoba is the independent office of the Legislative Assembly responsible for the administration of provincial elections and byelections.

For media inquiries:

Alison Mitchell, Manager of Communications and Public Information Phone: 204-945-7379



UCN: the quint turns TEN!

This December the quint: an interdisciplinary quarterly from the north is celebrating its tenth anniversary at UCN. MLA-indexed and peer-reviewed, the quint is a scholarly journal that features scholarly articles and creative works by writers from Manitoba, Canada, and abroad. An important meeting point for Northern Manitoba and the world, the quint is available online and archived in Library and Archives Canada (Ottawa, Ontario).

“The release of the 10th edition of the quint demonstrates the contribution made by UCN to research and creative scholarship,” said Dan Smith, UCN’s Vice-President Academic and Research. “UCN is proud of the quint and of the journal’s editor, Dr. Sue Matheson, for her hard work in establishing this internationally recognized journal,” he continued.

Dean of FABS, Harvey Briggs finds that “the quint has grown from a small locally-centred online journal to a much more broadly-oriented and indexed publication under the stewardship of Dr. Sue Matheson.” “Currently, it is a publication of choice for local, national and international authors,” he said. “That UCN’s online publication has done so well while located in a very small, very northern, university is a testament to the work that has under-girded the development of each edition.”

“the quint has always been a cutting edge publication,” said Matheson, “Its readers were the first to see the models for the raven sculptures that are now in Vancouver. We were so lucky to be able to run the prototypes for Irwin Head’s Olympic project. There have always been interesting articles about aboriginal and indigenous issues. All our writers have been fabulous to work with and the editors who worked with me have been great, especially my colleague, John Butler. The scholarly emphasis of the journal really took off when John was at UCN.”

She added, “I’m very excited about the quint 10.1. We have a strong UCN and Canadian presence in this issue and writers from the United States, Italy, Germany, India, Tunisia, and Nigeria. We’re also able to showcase the work of a young writer from Opaskwayak Cree Nation. It’s a great Christmas issue. We couldn’t have this sort of success without the continuing support of the Dean of FABS and the Vice-

President Academic. Those offices were instrumental in getting the quint off the ground and developing its reputation.”

Matheson is looking forward to next ten years of the journal. “I enjoy working with the authors and artists from here and around the world,” she said, “I’m always learning—there are so many ideas about movies, books, politics, and what’s going on in other cultures.”

the quint can be viewed at


For more information or to book an interview, please contact:

Jim Scott, Director

Department of Communications

University College of the North

P: 204-627-8244 ext. 1



Winnipeggers’ Need for Better Quality, More Affordable Housing Increases for First Time Since 1996

“Core housing need” measures the percentage of households within a city whose housing either: i) costs them more than 30 per cent of their income; ii) requires major repairs; or iii) is not big enough for their family size.

What else can Peg tell us about core housing need in Winnipeg?

Peg tells us…

  • Winnipeg’s core housing need increased by 17 per cent between 2011 and 2016.
  • Winnipeg has a lower rate of core housing need than the Canadian national rate (12.7 per cent), largely due to the affordability of housing. A total of 68.7 per cent of households in core housing are unaffordable, versus 76.1 per cent in Canada. If housing prices in Winnipeg were to increase to a level more in line with other major Canadian cities, the rate of households in core housing need would likely jump.
  • Compared to Canada as a whole, more Winnipeggers can afford their homes, but a higher percentage of people live in crowded homes (7.2 per cent) and in homes needing major repairs (5.2 per cent).
  • An additional 18.9 per cent of households in core housing need do not meet two or more of the standards of adequacy, suitability and affordability.


  • The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) defines a household as being in core housing need if it is “unable to afford shelter that meets adequacy, suitability, and affordability norms.” The norms have been adjusted over time to reflect the housing expectations of Canadians.
  • Affordability, one of the elements used to determine core housing need, is recognized as “a maximum of 30 per cent of the household income spent on shelter” (
  • A household is considered adequate if it does not require major repairs.
  • Suitability refers to having enough bedrooms for the size and makeup of households.
  • This indicator does not include individuals that are homeless.

Why does this matter?

  • Adequate, suitable and affordable housing is a crucial basic need.
  • Individuals in core housing need are unable to meet one of these three standards, thereby placing a large stress on their resources and health (HRSDC, 2011).
  • As housing costs often account for significant portions of household budgets, these costs could make the difference between comfortably meeting basic needs and substantial financial stress (HRSDC, 2011).

Source of the data:

  • Data for this indicator is obtained from Statistics Canada, in collaboration with CMHC (
  • More detail about this indicator can be found in Peg’s 2017 Wellbeing Report on the Natural and Built Environment:


Media inquiries:

For interviews on understanding the trend (or the story behind the numbers), organizations making a difference in the community, Peg, or the data, please contact:

Sumeep Bath, Media and Communications Officer

International Institute for Sustainable Development

(204) 958-7700 ext. 740 |



All Provinces and Territories Are Now Represented on the Centennial Flame

OTTAWA, December 13, 2017

As part of Canada 150, the Government of Canada has added the symbols of Nunavut to the Centennial Flame so that every province and territory, from coast to coast to coast, is now represented.

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada and the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada took part in the unveiling of the new Centennial Flame monument on Parliament Hill.

The Governor General and the Prime Minister were accompanied by the Honourable Melanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage; the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs; the Honourable Nellie Taptaqut Kusugak, Commissioner of Nunavut; the Honourable Paul Quassa, Premier of Nunavut; and other federal, territorial and municipal representatives. Members of local Inuit and Algonquin Nation organizations also attended the celebratory ceremony. As a tribute to Inuit traditions, it included throat singing, drumming and traditional dancing.

The official symbols of Nunavut and the date the territory joined Confederation (1999) are now inscribed on the impressive Centennial Flame monument, alongside symbols of all Canadian provinces and territories. This project demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to acknowledging this beautiful territory’s contribution to our country.

The structure, which now has 13 sides, was entirely rebuilt in order to fully reflect Canada from coast to coast to coast. Canadians are invited to come and admire this work, which is a source of pride and a special landmark for residents and visitors to the region.


“More than 50 years ago, a flame was lit on Parliament Hill to mark the 100th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. Today, as we celebrate Canada 150, it burns for the whole country and for Nunavut, our newest territory. Our government is proud to unveil the new Centennial Flame monument, and I invite all Canadians to rediscover this iconic symbol of Canada, which now reflects every province and territory from coast to coast to coast.”

—The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“Today more than ever, with the inclusion of Nunavut, the Centennial Flame symbolizes Canada’s unity from coast to coast to coast. The Centennial Flame will always be a major attraction for all Canadians visiting our nation’s capital and will continue to have a lasting legacy for future generations.”

—The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement

“The Centennial Flame is a prominent symbol of our nation’s unity. The motto inscribed in syllabics on the coat of arms, Nunavut, Our Strength, emphasizes the importance the land and our language play in all aspects of life in Nunavut, recognizes the important role our territory plays in the sovereignty and security of this great nation, and reinforces Canada’s identity as a truly northern country.”

—The Honourable Paul Quassa, Premier of Nunavut

Quick Facts

  • The Centennial Flame is part of a fountain that now has 13 sides with the inclusion of the official symbols of Nunavut. Located on the front lawn of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, the structure bears the bronze shield of each of the provinces and territories, as well as their respective floral emblems and the date each joined Confederation. These elements are joined by the fountain’s water, representing Canada’s unity.
  • The monument now includes the shield and floral emblem of Nunavut and the year the territory joined Confederation (1999).
  • On December 31, 1966, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson launched Canada’s 100th anniversary celebrations by lighting the Flame for the first time.
  • The Flame was originally conceived as a temporary project for the duration of the centennial year, but its popularity prompted the decision to retain the Flame in perpetuity.
  • The shield of Nunavut is round and features an inuksuk, a qulliq (Inuit stone lamp), five gold circles representing the arc of the sun, and the North Star. The official territorial flower is purple saxifrage, which represents the resilience and perseverance of the people of Nunavut. The territorial motto is Nunavut Sannginivut (“Nunavut, our strength”).

Associated Links


For more information (media only), please contact:

Simon Ross
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage


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