WINNIPEG — A popular pathway at The Forks has been named to honour the city’s Indigenous heritage.
The South Point pathway is now known as Niizhoziibean, meaning two rivers in Ojibway, and is located near where the Red and Assiniboine rivers meet.
“Niizhoziibean not only embodies the spirit of the traditional past of The Forks but enhances our understanding of what this place means – a collaborative space where people have been coming together to trade, grow, and make life for millennia,” said Niigaan Sinclair, associate professor Dept. of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba.
The name was uncovered by elders Clarence and Barbara Nepinak during a ceremony on Friday.
The Forks, Ottawa and The Winnipeg Foundation is undertaking $1.2 million in improvements to the pathway that will include a 30-foot sculptural piece to be installed at the pedestrian entrance to the site from Queen Elizabeth Way.
Artists K.C. Adams, Jamie Isaac, and Val Vint were chosen through a call for submissions to create pieces on the site.
Further plans for the Niizhoziibean redevelopment include preserving the existing forested South Point across the Historic Rail Bridge, improving accessibility, relocating trees, improve lighting and restoring native plants. Interpretive elements to recognize the Indigenous history and a space for drum park ceremonies are also planned.
The federal government and The Winnipeg Foundation are each contributing $500,000, while The Forks Renewal Corporation is donating $200,000.
Future fundraising efforts will allow for an outdoor bush gallery and boardwalk within the forest canopy.