Concept Options

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(1) Indigenous Education and Training Centre
There is now an accepted public understanding that appropriate education for Manitoba’s Indigenous population is an essential part of redressing social and historical circumstances. While existing academic institutions are accommodating many Indigenous youth, there is clearly a need for more facilities and a need for training oriented directly to the needs of students.
Two recognized dimensions of the education response are the need for culturally appropriate instruction and practical opportunities to apply new learning. Semi-institutional facilities provide the space and means for both culturally and practically oriented training. Collaboration and coordination with existing educational and community institutions are also important to expand training opportunities. Community-based extension of existing educational programs and institutions would also make them more accessible to students, both young and adult.
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(2) Indigenous Arts Centre
For five years the Neechi Niche art store and its creative arts programming provided concrete proof of a strong demand for an Indigenous arts centre.  The currently available space could support a greatly expanded venue, involving fine arts, painting, crafts, theatre, musical performances, book launches, story telling, poetry, an art gallery, display cases for donated heirloom artifacts and traditional foods. Instruction, complete with resident artists, could be provided for artistic painting, bead work, and writing. The centre could include both commercial and not-for-profit endeavours while supporting the livelihoods of hundreds of Indigenous artisans. Inter-action with neighbourhood schools would be a natural fit.
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(3) Manitoba Food Products Promotion Centre
Manitoba has always been a food producing centre for Canada. It is globally known for high quality grains and meats. In the last 20 years food producers have expanded, broadened and innovated so that now the province is known for a wide range of raw and processed foods.
What producers would find useful now, is a central, Winnipeg-based facility focused on developing, promoting and marketing local products. It would augment supports, advice and other assistance offered by Food and Beverage Manitoba and related educational centres.
A Manitoba Food Products Promotion Centre could be a dynamic way of profiling and encouraging local production. It could be a place for producers, consumers and retailers to network. A space for meetings, administration and training would be an attractive resource to producers.  Small scale producers are looking for a place to test and showcase their products. Large scale producers and retailers are looking for product developments and trends. Such a facility would help respond to opportunities in Canada’s economy as consumers are showing more interest in buying local and local innovation can also facilitate expansion into export markets.
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(4) Alternative Energy Hub
The effect of the changing global ecology is dramatically felt in erratic weather, fire and flood disasters, clogged eco-systems and the rising costs of natural materials. The growing public response is to take more responsibility and to seek new opportunities to protect the environment.
In Winnipeg there are a number of organizations that are actively promoting greater environmental sensitivity and follow-through action. However, they also point out the need for a central resource to help residents apply and adopt energy saving resources. Manitoba Hydro has managed very successful and popular retrofit and insulation programs for example. Aki-Energy is successfully promoting geo-thermal and greenhouse development in Manitoba’s northern communities.
A central promotion and resource facility would help residents, businesses, industry and others to adopt energy saving tools. This could be an information and educational resource. It could be also a place to develop solutions to current environmentally destructive practices. It could be a promotional resource, a retail outlet and experimental base for the community. Existing Indigenous training and employment support programs could assist a new and innovative project. The employment and neighbourhood revitalization impact would enhance the Hub’s public profile.

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(5) Community Healing Centre
The current meth and opioid crisis demands street level programming to address addictions and sustainable recovery needs. The Neechi Common site could house a broad range of preventative and restorative options, such as student and community education, counselling, safe shelter, addiction stabilization and peer support. Mentorship and training could focus on health, parenting skills and employment. A safe injection component would contribute to public health and draw more clients who could benefit from restorative programs.

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(6) Young People’s Enrichment Hub
There is a great need for customized programs that help to instill self-confidence and pride among both younger children and youth. This could include quality daycare, play areas, physical recreation, peer and adult tutoring, Elder engagement and Indigenous languages. It also could offer a program where high school students mentor elementary school students in a mutually beneficial way, as in the highly successful ‘Rec and Read’ programs initiated by the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management.
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(7) Main Street Community Centre
When J.S. Woodsworth came to Winnipeg in 1907 to run the All Peoples Mission, he made sure there were recreational facilities built into the programming of this early ‘North End’ community resource. Today, accessible recreational support is still recognized as a major need to help people gain the strength needed for engaging in employment and living healthy lifestyles.
Closely linked to the need for physical recreation, is the importance of public space where other social and organizational activities can function. Citizens thrive when they are able to meet in safe and healthy environments to socialize, exercise and collectively address common issues. The employment and neighbourhood revitalization impact would enhance the Centre’s public profile. Indigenous training and employment support programs are available to provide assistance. Currently there are fragmented facilities around Winnipeg’s North End providing recreational opportunities, but the community is saying more is needed. At a community meeting called in response to the closure and disrepair of the Winnipeg Indian Métis Friendship Centre, the following needs were identified:
  • Healthy Baby, Healthy Child
  • Pow-wows/ pow-wow programs and large gathering spaces
  • Aboriginal Head Start
  • Halloween and Christmas celebrations
  • Bingo and craft programs
  • Drop- in for youth
  • Community computers
  • Elders programs
  • Kitchen space
  • Support for men/cultural teachings
  • Healing for men at NPDWC
  • North End wide newsletter to create more communication between the community
  • Residents coalition
  • Harm reduction space
  • Volunteer and employment opportunities
  • settlement/ transition services for Indigenous people
  • Food security/ healthy food sources
  • Creating more green spaces, such as community gardens
  • Leadership training and capacity building
  • The community celebrating holidays together and work towards uniting community
  • Inter-generational connections
  • Create safe spaces
  • Meeting people’s basic needs (food, shelter, safety etc.)
  • Teach newcomers about the North End and create a welcoming environment

 

20150510 Mond Nch M's Day 5 staff