World Refugee Day in Winnipeg brings together refugees, immigrants, Indigenous people

Indigenous people, refugees and immigrants are coming together to tackle racism on World Refugee Day.

Event 'talking about the lies' in our society about different ethnic identities, organizer says

Wafaa Abukhousa, 12, of Altona, Man., holds a sign written in Arabic and English to welcome Syrian families. (CBC)

Indigenous people, refugees and immigrants are coming together to tackle racism on World Refugee Day.

People will gather on the lawn of the Manitoba Legislature this afternoon for a picnic and a conversation around misconceptions in society about ethnic identity.

The event is sponsored by 13 Fires Winnipeg, which hosts events each month to create a dialogue between different communities in order to overcome racism.

"The event is based on discussions between newcomers and Indigenous communities talking about the lies that they find told in our society about their ethnic identities," said Jennifer Doerksen, an organizer with 13 Fires.

"Then trying to share their truths that they have about their identities, their ethnicities, and trying to use those to overcome the segregation between communities that we see today."

People will also share their personal stories, writing them down and then making them into paper boats. The boats will then set sail down the Red River.

Doerksen said it's important to build relationships and create tools to help each other out.

Throughout the refugee and immigration process, the Canadian government offers a limited amount of information on the country's history with Indigenous people, 13 Fires said in a release.

"We want newcomers to Canada to understand and respect the relationship Indigenous peoples have for the land, so we have to teach them what the government hasn't," Indigenous community facilitator Ko'ona Cochrane said in the release.

The picnic will start at 5:30 p.m. on the lawn across from 396 Broadway.