728 x 90

First Nations Lodge Rises at The Forks

First Nations Lodge Rises at The Forks

Historically, the lodge is known as a place where First Nations peoples welcomed everyone and demonstrated how life operates best in this place.  The newest addition to Niizhoziibean, formerly named South Point of The Forks, now has a lodge, part of the many new and accessible installations to this Historical site. Over the past three

Historically, the lodge is known as a place where First Nations peoples welcomed everyone and demonstrated how life operates best in this place.  The newest addition to Niizhoziibean, formerly named South Point of The Forks, now has a lodge, part of the many new and accessible installations to this Historical site. Over the past three years, these projects represent the rich presence and contributions of our Indigenous communities. In addition to the installations at this site, is the creation of new and accessible walkways, security lighting, and the planting of medicines.Niigaan Sinclair, has worked with the leadership at The Forks for the past few years, to establish the forks as a place where Indigenous peoples can finally tell the story of this important place. The newly erected lodge has been part of these planned projects.

In addition to this lodge, visitors to The Forks can see Niimaamaa (“my mother’), the huge sculpture at the Main Street entrance designed by Indigenous artists KC Adams, Jaimie Isaac and Val Vint. They can read Cree, Ojibway and Michif signage explaining the history of Winnipeg and treaties. They can also listen to a walking tour for the forks while walking through the area.  The audio can be downloaded here: https://www.theforks.com/events/signature-events-attractions-tours/signature-events/audio-tour

There are also many art installations, such as Vint’s 12-foot bison statue named ‘Education is the New Bison’, made out of hundreds of steel books written by Indigenous authors.

There’s also K.C. Adams’ recently unveiled sculpture near the Canadian Museum for Human Rights entitled ‘Tanisi keke totamak — Ka cis teneme toyak’, which means, “what can we do, to respect each other.”

There’s also a future installation near the Oodena Celebration Circle by Jainie Isaac that will recognize the Anishinaabe prophecy of the seven fires.

All of these works add to others, like the murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls memorial and the residential school monument, in what has become one of the largest collections of Indigenous-led public expressions in any historical site in Canada.

The Lodge

For our people, a lodge is a meeting place. It’s for teaching, sharing and gifting, where everyone is respected and honoured.  Historically it has been a place where we raise our children, perform ceremonies and a place to build and establish relationships. A lodge is place where we welcome newcomers and create treaty, share food and create bonds that can last forever.

Nearly every Indigenous nation has a lodge of some kind. Some are more permanent than others, while some are built year-to-year and even season-to-season.

And for Indigenous peoples, this lodge represents something else: home. It represents a place we have lived, thrived and built our nations since time began. It’s a revitalization of a space where teachings, voices and songs — once considered illegal and almost forgotten — can grow again.

Before building the lodge, hundreds of Indigenous historians and leaders shared their stories of The Forks. One was about the Cree and Lakota community that inhabited the area until a devastating 1783 smallpox epidemic opened the way for settlers to enter — it was the last time a lodge stood there.

This week, the lodge returned, as Indigenous men, women and children rebuilt the space our ancestors fought so hard to protect — and even took underground for a while. Now there’s no need to go underground. The Forks invited us to re-enter our home and show Winnipeg what has always been here. Thanks to the work of an entire community, Indigenous life lives again in a place we call home and that home is the lodge.

Biindigen! Welcome! Come in! (adapted from a Free Press article written by Niigaan Sinclair)

Submitted by:  Renée McGurry, Earth Lodge Development Helper

The Earth Lodge website: http://lodge.fnt2t.com

 

Posts Carousel

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Latest Posts

Top Authors

Most Commented

Featured Videos