Hot Spots in Manitoba
Spring brings the promise of vibrant colours, festivals, celebrations and outdoor adventures, and in Canada, at the center of North America, there is no better time to experience what our communities and land have to offer in all regions. According to Travel Manitoba, these six places are a must to experience and celebrate Indigenous culture in Manitoba.
A Central Meeting Place
Nestled in the heart of downtown Winnipeg is The Forks – one of Winnipeg’s most cherished and popular meeting places. It has always been regarded as a historic site, and has been a sacred meeting place for First Nations for over 6,000 years. In the past it served as a key trading post for Indigenous peoples, followed by European fur traders, Métis buffalo hunters, Scottish settlers, riverboat workers, railway pioneers and immigrants. The Forks is an all-encompassing experience during any season and is a must see for tourists and locals alike.
At a time when human rights are always at the forefront of our conversations, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (Winnipeg) is a great place to explore Indigenous culture, its impact on life and perspectives on Indigenous matters. Described as a living, breathing, walking exhibit, the Mikinak-Keya Spirit Tour reflects the seven sacred teachings of First Nations peoples, and each teaching is represented by a spirit animal. What’s even more fascinating is that each sacred teaching and spirit animal is represented in the design of the museum. The result of an ongoing collaboration between the museum and a group of seven First Nations Elders from the region, the tour not only ties the building’s design into its sacred teachings but also connects its oral traditions to the present-day topic of human rights. https://humanrights.ca/visit/tours/mikinak-keya
Indulge in Indigenous-inspired cuisine at Feast Café Bistro, at the corner of Ellice Avenue and Sherbrook Street in Winnipeg. Owner Christa Bruneau-Guenther is a proud member of Peguis First Nation and has spent over 15 years refining her cooking skills and expanding her knowledge of Indigenous foods. Feast focuses on seasonal foods and uses local ingredients deeply rooted in First Nations culture, including bison, which is profoundly connected to Indigenous people and the province of Manitoba. Make sure to mark this dining hotspot on your list of culinary pursuits for this summer.
Located in downtown Winnipeg is the Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery. It is not only the place for Aboriginal artists of all disciplines to showcase their work, but it’s a space of discovery and cultivating talent among Indigenous peoples. From its arts and crafts to its abstract exhibits, the gallery seeks to maintain its authenticity and to remain deeply rooted in Indigenous culture. If you’re in Winnipeg this summer, admission to the gallery is free, so there’s no excuse not to explore this modern Art Gallery.
Exploring nature is one of the best ways to experience Indigenous culture, and the Brokenhead Wetland Interpretive Trail (Anikanotabijigade) is a great place to start. Not only does this trail possess medicinal plants that are sacred to Indigenous culture, its tree-shaded boardwalks and open marshy areas offer the perfect place and opportunity for reflection on the teachings of love, respect, courage, honesty, wisdom, humility and truth, which Indigenous peoples hold in the highest esteem.
Thunderbird Nest is a designated historic site in Manitoba located just two hours north of Winnipeg in the Rural Municipality of Alonsa. This site, defined by a circle of sacred stones and built by the Anishinaabe, was constructed to attract the Thunderbird as a guardian spirit. The Thunderbird is believed to be a guardian spirit that protects mankind from the serpent of the underworld. Constructed many years ago by their ancestors, this site is still used by Ojibway people to this day for ceremonies.