Winnipeg – The City of Winnipeg and Downtown Winnipeg BIZ unveiled a tribute to the community of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation during a ceremony at the newly refurbished Broadway Centennial Fountain, located on the boulevard along Broadway at Donald Street. Mayor Scott Gillingham, Councillor Sherri Rollins, and Kate Fenske, CEO of Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, were joined by Chief Kevin Redsky and members of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation in honouring the community’s contributions to the City of Winnipeg.
The tribute features a large copper plaque, inscribed with a message of gratitude and support for the community of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation. The water fountain, which required repairs and refurbishment, had originally been constructed in 1970 to recognize the 50th anniversary of the supply of water to Winnipeg from Shoal Lake. Until now, this monument failed to acknowledge the community at the source of this water – Shoal Lake 40 First Nation.
“For more than a century, Winnipeg has thrived due in large part to our access to clean drinking water through the aqueduct at Shoal Lake,” said Mayor Scott Gillingham. “But the First Nation community linked directly to this vital resource has not received the recognition it deserves. On behalf of all Winnipeg residents, I extend our deepest gratitude to Chief Kevin Redsky and all members of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, past and present.”
“Partnerships in projects like this are vital in addressing the calls to action of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said Chief Kevin Redsky, Shoal Lake 40 First Nation. “The sacredness of water is protected by our women, who are our birth givers and who have led this project in a good way. We are happy to have been able to participate as a partner in this project and see this as a positive step in strengthening our relationship with the City of Winnipeg, its residents, and as we continue to champion access to clean drinking water.
“The City of Winnipeg is greatly indebted to the community of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation for its supply of water,” said Councillor Sherri Rollins, Fort Rouge – East Fort Garry. “We hope that this project amplifies the voices of, and provide a space in Winnipeg for, the people of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation to share their story.”
“This monument is a meaningful addition to the historical, tree-lined street of Broadway right in the heart of our city,” says Kate Fenske, CEO of Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. “It is one more step in the important transformation happening downtown to honour, recognize and celebrate Indigenous peoples. As thousands of people pass by this fountain each day, I hope they too, will see and acknowledge the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation community.”
The newly installed tribute to Shoal Lake 40 First Nation and water fountain refurbishment is part of the Broadway Revitalization Project, which will also include new street furniture along Broadway from Osborne Street to Main Street.
The Broadway Revitalization Project is largely funded through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund, awarded by the Government of Canada to Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, contributing approximately $430,000 to the project. Funding was also provided through the City’s Land Dedication Reserve Fund, Downtown Enhancement Budget, and by Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. The total cost of the project is nearly $580,000.