Forwarding Reconciliation and Promoting Indigenous Languages
In response to United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Article 13 and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action 14i, Indigenous languages Inuktitut (Inuit), Inuvialuktun (Inuit), Anishinaabemowin (Anishinaabe/Ojibway), Nêhiyawêwin (Ininiwak/Cree), Dakota, and Michif (Métis) will now have a real and presence throughout WAG-Qaumajuq, welcoming visitors to the Gallery. It is the first time an Indigenous naming of this kind has occurred at a major art institution in Canada.
The circle also gave the WAG building an Ojibway name: Biindigin Biwaasaeyaah (pronounced BEEN- deh-gen Bi-WAH-say-yah), an Anishinaabemowin phrase meaning, “come on in, the dawn of light is here.” Your WAG will always be known as the Winnipeg Art Gallery or WAG, but it has now been endowed with an Indigenous name from Treaty 1 Territory.
Discover the names of Qaumajuq’s interior spaces here. The names are filled with beautiful meaning that reflects the design and vision for the new centre and expanded WAG.
“The powerful presence of Indigenous languages in a colonial institution sends the message to Indigenous people that this is a place where we can feel safe and welcomed,” says Julia Lafreniere, WAG Manager of Indigenous Initiatives. “It is a space for us and for everyone in the community.”