Photo: CFR

Now that it’s finally cold in Winnipeg, you may be looking for a warm place to go skateboarding in the comfort of a downtown shopping mall.

While the future of the Portage Place Mall are being worked out, the ground floor anchor position on the on the west side of the mall has been repurposed into an in-door skatepark so that skateboard enthusiast can enjoy their passion year-around.The park takes up the entire floor space where the old Staples store used to be.

According to a online Cree Dictionary, “Pitikwé” means “enter or come in”.
Admission prices are $5 under 25 years old, and $10 for 25 and older. The space will also be available for group rentals on weekends. For more information, please go to or visit this link to find out about bookings to reserve your space.

View a typical weekly schedule. There are many open sessions for anybody to attend and you can bring your BMX, Inline Skates, your scooter or your skateboard.

There are several Video’s to view:

CTV News at Noon announced on their noon newscast on Dec 19th, 2023 that Disney/Lucasfilm will release an Ojibwe version of the poplar 1977 space drama: “Star Wars – A New Hope”.
The Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council, APTN and the University of Manitoba will be collaborating with Lucasfilm to make the first Star Wars saga in Ojibwe.
And Ojibwe people in Manitoba can can participate by applying through
There is more info at this link.

Most of the world’s cultures have looked to the night sky as a cultural source of inspiration. Canada’s Indigenous used the night sky as a as a map, clock and calendar.

Indigenous Knowledge Keeper and Scientist, William Buck is a Cree Elder from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation.
He is also the Science Facilitator for the Manitoba First Nation Education Resource Center (MFNERC). He has an extensive knowledge of Astronomy and in particular Indigenous Astronomy. He refers to North Star or Polaris, also commonly known as the bright star at the of the Big Dipper’s handle, as the going home star (6 Minute, 53 Second Mark).
Buck has his own YouTube show called ‘Lessons From Beyond with Wilfred Buck’ and was named as one of the most interesting people in Manitoba by a local celebrity, Ace Burpee’s Top 100 Fascinating Manitobans.

The Christmas Cheer Board provides grocery hampers & gifts for children 14 years and under during the holiday season.

Who can apply?
People in need and living in Winnipeg can apply for a hamper for their household. Referrals are not accepted. Individuals and families must apply on their own.
How to apply?
All hamper applications are taken by phone at Hamper Application Call Centres.

Income Assistance Applicants
IA case number required. Address must be current with IA. IA application hours: 

Monday – Friday 8:30am – 4:30 pm

Low Income, Pensioners, Students & New Canadian Applicants
Have your Manitoba Health card ready for all adults in home.
November – normal business hours – Monday – Friday 8:30am – 4:30 pm
December – Extended business hours

Hamper Distribution Options
Hamper pickup begins Tuesday, December 5
Households can pickup their hamper (grocery & toys) or have it delivered to their home between December 5 and 23. Deliveries are attempted two times. On the second unsuccessful attempt, an info sheet is left with instructions that the hamper must be picked up at 895 Century St.


When I was about 4 years old, somebody dressed me up my Dad’s war uniform, complete with his boots, helmet, boots and his rifle, all the things he needed in WWII

I was never privileged to learn the details of his service to our country, but we should all take time on National Aboriginal Veterans Day, November 8th  to honor all our veterans who fought for our country.

To my Dad, Amos Demas and for the countless others who did not make it back. We are forever grateful. 

Rick Demas

Eagle Vision Video Productions Ltd., an Indigenous Production company and the History Channel have teamed up to produce “True Story – Part Two“,  a two-hour documentary that explores Canada’s colonial past and illuminates a possible path forward by examining such issues as Residential Schools and the Indian Act. If these past colonial instances could be conveyed to Non-Indigenous Canadians in an impactful way, just maybe “we can move forward as a nation”. “True Story Part Two” producers hope that “through authentic storytelling … [in] an inspiring and uplifting tone”, they hope to show “what Canada could truly be if we learn from the past”.
True Story – Part Two will air September 30 on the same day as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. You can see it on the History Channel at 8 PM, Winnipeg time. It will follow True Story – Part One which will be at 6:00 PM. Part One aired in 2022 and focused on the Pre-Contact era up to the Indian Act.

This coming Saturday on Sept 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

September 30 was originally called Orange Shirt Day, a grassroots movement started in 2013 by Phyllis Webstad in her response to her “Residential School experience“.

September 30 is now an official Canadian holiday, created by “Federal Statute“.

The Circles for Reconciliation team will be at the march starting at The Forks, Saturday, September 30th. We will be at the circle near the Manitoba Children’s Museum at 10:30 am. You will see us in our CFR t-shirts with orange accessories and/or Orange Shirts. More details to come.

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) and Elections Manitoba are trying to make it easier for First Nations people to vote in the October 3, 2023 Provincial Election. Elections Manitoba is working with the AMC to overcome one of the most common barriers that inhibits First Nation People from Voting – the lack of proper identification. To overcome this obstacle, a declaration of First Nations guarantor for proof of identity form
has been developed to replace any government issued ID. The form must be filled out by your home community leadership, the Chief, or a Council Member or the Band Membership Clerk.

Currently, all voters must produce one government-issued ID or two documents including the voter’s name before they can enter the voting booth.

There is a Fillable PDF Form you can fill out at this link.

The Stanley Cup will be coming to Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, Wednesday, August 23, 2023 states Tim Whitecloud, Zach Whitecloud’s father.
Zach Whitecloud along with the team members of the Vegas Golden Knights captured the Stanley Cup in Game 5 over the Florida Panthers.
About “200 Band members” from Zach’s home community gathered together at the local community hall to cheer on one of their own to capture the Stanley Cup on the evening of June 13, 2023.

An advocacy group, Justice for Day Scholars 2021, wants to get the word out that the application form for the Day Scholars Class Action settlement is still open until October 4, 2023 for survivors to apply for compensation.
If you know anybody affected by this settlement agreement, you should send them this LINK.
Even if this person has since passed on, tell their beneficiaries that they can apply for the deceased’s benefits if the affected Day Scholar passed away on or after May 30, 2005.
The website has a number of resources and tools to assist Day Scholars with their application, even an online tool to help determine an applicant’s eligibility to receive compensation. That tool is located at this LINK.
The official Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada information for this settlement agreement is available at this LINK.

New “specialty”  licence plates will be available this fall for Manitobans who want to support the plight of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirited people (MMIWG2S). The plates will feature the now emblematic ‘Red Dress’ or the ‘Red Hand Print’ and will be available for $70, with $30 going to support all those families that are affected by intersectoral violence against Indigenous woman.

Call to Action 41. “We call upon the federal government, in consultation with Aboriginal organizations, to appoint a public inquiry into the causes of, and remedies for, the disproportionate victimization of Aboriginal women and girls. The inquiry’s mandate would include: i. Investigation into missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. ii. Links to the intergenerational legacy of residential schools.” (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action, p. 7.)

The key to the survival of the Rocky Cree language may very well reside in the discovery of a 350 year old Rocky Cree womannear present day South Indian Lake.

The Rocky Cree communities are the six First Nation communities in Manitoba that live along the “Churchill River”. The discovery of this long lost Indigenous woman will now serve as an impetus for reviving the Rocky Cree language.

William Dumas, works as the First Nations Language & Culture Facilitator for Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre (MFNERC) and he is worried about the survivability of the Rocky Cree language given that it is spoken less and less and is only being spoken by the older generation, says Dumas in a YouTube video  filmed at Paint Lake in the Traditional Territory of the Rocky Cree. Dumas hopes to preserve the Rocky Cree Language by documenting the “language, history, concepts, and holistic way of life of the Rocky Cree … directly from the knowledge keepers”. Dumas also wants to develop an educational Resource App to assist Indigenous Students with the retention of the Rocky Cree language. The seven year project is its second year and is been done in conjunction with The University of Winnipeg, the Indigenous Inclusion Directorate of the Manitoba Government and MFNERC.

It is hoped the resource will become part of the regular Manitoba educational curriculum. The project is one of the key recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation’s 94 Calls To Action. There is additional info at this link.

The 2023 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) will be taking place in Nova Scotia from July 15-23 and will feature 16 different sporting events including 3 Traditional Sports –  “Canoe/Kayak, Lacrosse, and 3D Archery”.

If you know somebody, or if your kids will be participating at the NAIG 2023, or if you just interested in sports, especially Indigenous sports and you can’t make the long trip to Nova Scotia; you’re in luck, as you can stream the games from the comfort of your TV, computer, laptop or your phone. Just click HERE and click the blue Live Stream Button.

The Manitoba government will “waive” all processing fees indefinitely for those Residential School Survivors who were stripped of their traditional Indigenous name upon entering into a Residential School. The move is in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action # 17 which called for “all levels” of government to waive all administrative fees for Survivors trying to get back their real Traditional names.

The BC Government did a similar move earlier this year when they allowed Indigenous People to reclaim their names like when they allowed a baby boy to have his legal name, “λugʷaləs” to appear on his BC Birth Certificate.

A Big Thank You

We would like to thank all those who helped make National Indigenous Peoples Day a huge celebration! The number of volunteers from the schools, resource agencies, individuals and teams of volunteers! The teepee which was brought by retired Sgt. Lester Houle and his helper. The 7 Eleven truck and caterers. Staff at Sgt. Tommy Prince Place. All the entertainers, exhibitors, artisans, CFR Facilitators and Staff and so much more! Donations of water, snacks, books and items for the prize draws. Longer acknowledgements to follow.

In the mean time, please select this Link for some aerial drone footage of our June 21, 2023 event

This interactive community event will celebrate NIPD at the centre and further provide education on the name change of the centre. The centre was renamed in 2018 from North Centennial Recreation and Leisure Facility to Sergeant Tommy Prince Place as part of the City of Winnipeg’s commitment to reconciliation.

Sergeant Thomas George Prince was born October 25, 1915 and comes from the Brokenhead First Nation, Manitoba. He became Canada’s most decorated war hero having served in WWII and the Korean War. For more info on Sergeant Tommy Prince, please click here.

Grace Schedler, CFR Partner, Facilitator Trainer, Presenter and Ganiyat Oyapidan, Admin Assistant / Circle Coordinator
Several Circles for Reconciliation staff were at this year’s Vision Quest spreading the word on our reconciliation efforts.
We were there to invite other organizations to participate in our Sharing Circles. Our team members visited many tables and had a wonderful time speaking to many future partners. The CFR table had invitations and registration forms indicating that we are hosting a National Indigenous Peoples Day Event on June 21st at Sergeant Tommy Prince Place, at the old exhibition grounds, 90 Sinclair St, Winnipeg, Mb.

If you’re planning to go to this year’s “sold out”  2023 Vision Quest Conference & Trade Show, please come by our booth and say hello to some of our staff and volunteers!

Last year’s conference had a record “1300+ participants”.

A key theme of this conference is to bring an eclectic group of businesses, innovators, and entrepreneurs, to discuss and exchange ideas about community and Indigenous economic development initiatives and activities.

You can find more info at this link.

Zach Whitecloud has become the first Indigenous hockey player from Sioux Valley Dakota Nation to join the ranks of the National Hockey League’s (NHL’s) Vegas Golden Knights.

Whitecloud was born November 28, 1996 in Brandon, Manitoba, and was raised on Sioux Valley Dakota Nation. He went to high school in Brandon. He played with the Virden Oil Kings in the Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League and junior hockey with the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Western Hockey League.

He signed his first contract with the Vegas Golden Knights in 2018 and another six-year contract in 2021.

Whitecloud was instrumental for putting the Vegas Golden Knights ahead of the Edmonton Oilers early in the third period of the May 3rd game in Round 2 of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Whitecloud took a slap shot in the early moments of the third period which was redirected and put his team ahead. The Golden Knights  went on to win the first game against the Oilers 6-4 on May 3rd. Actually, Whitecloud played his first NHL game against the “Edmonton Oilers on April 5, 2018”.

More information:

We  ran a post last month about William Prince, from Peguis First Nation and his Grand Ole Oprey debut, on February 18.

Prince recently appeared on Winnipeg’s CTV Morning Live. Prince said that new singers to the Grand Ole Oprey stand on a cut out circle from the original Grand ole Oprey. His new record came out on April 14 and you can hear one of his songs at this link.

Prince refers to his music as a ‘declaration to joy’ and I found it very unpretentious cause he sings from the heart.
–Rick Demas

The “Manitoba Theatre For Young People’s” (MTFYP) award-winning production, of Frozen River (nîkwatin sîpiy) is playing at the Young People’s Theater in Toronto, Ontario.

The play centers around two 11 year old girls; a Scottish and a Cree girl and was sourced from both traditional Indigenous Knowledge Keepers and western sources like records from the Manitoba Archives.

The play seems to originate when Lord Selkirk immigrated to southern Manitoba in 1812 and settled on present day Winnipeg. The play has a temporal element beginning in 1812 and cumulating in the present day, while incorporating an element of reconciliation.

Tickets can be ordered directly from the Young People’s Theater’s website.

It seems that Canada’s Indigenous languages milieu has created quite a following amongst non-Indigenous professionals immigrating to Canada and are trying hard to integrate into Canadian society by learning an Indigenous language.

Junaid Khan is an Ecologist who immigrated from Pakistan 20 years ago and started working with Anishinaabe, Joe Pitawanakwat who is a plant expert. Khan is a CFR Advisory Committee Member. Both Khan and Pitawanakwat decided to produce a pamphlet, cataloguing birds species in Anishinaabemowin at a free class offered by the Native Canadian Centre in Toronto.

You can read this report along with other background info and a podcast at this LINK.

The Steinbach Arts Council is presenting the Manitoba Theatre For Young People’s award-winning production, of Frozen River (nîkwatin sîpiy) on Saturday March 25th at 4:00 pm at the Pat Porter Active Living Center, Steinbach, MB.

The play centers around two 11 year old girls; a Scottish and a Cree girl and was sourced from both traditional Indigenous Knowledge Keepers and western sources like records from the Manitoba Archives.

The play seems to originate when Lord Selkirk immigrated to southern Manitoba in 1812.

This is a family orientated play and you can order your tickets by calling 204-346-1077.

An Indigenous man originally from Peguis First Nation played in Country Music’s Hall of Fame – the Grand Ol Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, this past February 18, joining the likes of legendary singers like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and Dolly Parton.”

Prince’s career got a big boost in 2017 when he won the Canadian Juno Contemporary Roots Album-of-the-year Award.