By Rebecca Chartrand

Indigenous Strategy Alliance is delighted to share the remarkable success of the 2023 Winnipeg Indigenous Accord, an event that we proudly collaborated on with the City of Winnipeg. Rooted in the ethos of “Contributing to and through an Empowered Indigenous Canada,” our involvement in the Accord seamlessly aligned with our vision of facilitating meaningful dialogue and actionable outcomes for Indigenous communities.

This year’s Accord was not just a gathering, it was a celebration of progress and a testament to the power of collective effort in advancing reconciliation. With an innovative anti-Indigenous racism framework, the event, themed “Empowering Change Through Accountability and Impact,” set a new benchmark in collaborative action. It brought together an array of stakeholders, including policymakers, community leaders, and Indigenous voices to explore and forge pathways for understanding, collaboration, and accountability.

 

One of the highlights of this year’s Accord was the inclusion of an Indigenous vendors market, a vibrant showcase of over 30 Indigenous entrepreneurs displaying their art, crafts, and businesses. This market was more than a commercial space, it was a cultural mosaic, reflecting the rich heritage and entrepreneurial spirit of Indigenous communities.

 

The event’s success was further amplified by the enthusiastic participation of key figures like Winnipeg’s new mayor, Scott Gillingham, and Cecil Sveinson, the head of the Indigenous Relations department. Their involvement underscored the growing commitment of city leaders to support initiatives that drive reconciliation and equity forward.

As a female-led Indigenous organization, we at Indigenous Strategy Alliance are thrilled to see events like the Winnipeg Indigenous Accord giving us and other Indigenous entities a platform to shine and carve a path forward for all Winnipeggers. The Accord has become a beacon of hope and a model for other Canadian cities, showing how to maintain reconciliation and equity at the forefront of civic agendas. The Accord’s significance is further magnified by Winnipeg’s status as the Canadian city with the largest Indigenous population. This context makes the Accord not just a local initiative but a national example of effective engagement and inclusion.

As we prepare to release a comprehensive report on the Accord, we invite everyone to keep an eye out for this pivotal document. It promises to provide key insights and recommendations drawn from the rich tapestry of discussions and collaborations that took place.

This event is more than just an annual occurrence, it’s a movement towards a brighter, more inclusive future. We extend our deepest gratitude to all who participated and contributed to making the 2023 Winnipeg Indigenous Accord a resounding success. For those interested in learning more about this landmark event or seeking insights on creating similar initiatives, please feel free to reach out to Tracey Cechvala at the City of Winnipeg or Rebecca Chartrand at Indigenous Strategy Alliance. We are excited about the future and the opportunities to contribute further to empowering Indigenous communities across Canada. In the spirit of reconciliation and community building, let’s all draw inspiration from the Winnipeg Indigenous Accord. Together, we can ensure that reconciliation and equity remain at the forefront and heart of our collaborative work in Winnipeg. From left to right: Mayor Scott Gillingham, Elder Mae Louise Campbell and Rebecca Chartrand Winnipeg Indigenous Accord Organizing Team

 

All photos by David Lipnowski Photography and courtesy of the City of Winnipeg.

 

About the Author

 Rebecca Chartrand, the CEO of Indigenous Strategy Alliance, is an Anishinaabe First Nations woman from Treaty 4 territory in Manitoba with over 25 years of experience in K-12 and post-secondary education, including the arts. She has a strong sense of pride in her identity and is highly respected for her courage, integrity, voice and vision. Chartrand’s work focuses on bridging diverse communities through reconciliation, anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and Indigenous and multicultural education frameworks.