Downtown Winnipeg BIZ is giving out decals with Indigenous languages on them in the hope of creating a greater sense of welcome.
They’re inviting businesses to install the decals that feature messages of inclusion in a number of languages.
Jason Syvixay with Downtown Winnipeg BIZ says over 80 businesses have already signed on.
“We want as many more businesses as we can get to join the cause. It’s more than putting a decal in front of a business. It’s that symbolic gesture that the business is open for Aboriginal people, it’s inclusive of Aboriginal considerations.”
The initiative was launched by Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s Aboriginal Peoples’ Advisory Committee. The decal features the word “welcome” translated into Ojibwe, Cree, Dene, Michif, Dakota, and Inuktitut with the help of Aboriginal Languages Inc. and the University of Winnipeg.
“This is a starting point. We would love to see this go city-wide,” Syvixay says. We’ve started on a small scale with the City of Winnipeg, they’re going to be posting these decals in downtown and inner-city recreational facilities.”
Syvixay explained what each part of the decal design means: the sunrise/sunset element respresents the north/south direction of Portage Avenue and the colour palette is “warm and welcoming”; the plant illustration represents sweet grass, a sacred plant in some Indigenous cultures; the tan colour is representative of the grass fields of the prairie landscape, and the blue is for the bottom of water bodies in the province.
You can learn more about the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ Aboriginal Peoples’ Advisory Committee on their website.