Community groups hold 2nd smudge walk in Winnipeg's North End

A group of people working in Winnipeg’s North End neighbourhood took to the streets on Tuesday in the second Smudge the North End event.

Event aims to connect with community and bring organizations together

Shelley Anderson (right) is the community facilitator for Indigenous Vision for the North End. She helped organize an event that brought traditional medicines to members in the community. (Lenard Monkman/CBC)

Shelley Anderson carried a can of burning sage around Winnipeg's North End Tuesday to help bring traditional medicines directly to the people.

Anderson said it's important for the large Indigenous population in the neighbourhood.

"I think it's important for us to smudge," said Anderson, who is from Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation.

"It's really important for us to be in the community and show the community that we want to be with them and support them and smudge with them." 

She started working for Indigenous Vision for the North End in the summer, and helped co-ordinate the organization's second Smudge the North End event.

"It's important to bring the culture back because even for me, I wasn't really in the culture. So it is nice to be able to have those opportunities," said Anderson.

Shelley Anderson offers a smudge to someone outside of the North End Women's Centre. (Lenard Monkman/CBC)

Anderson and co-organizer Jewel Pierre-Roscelli invited participants from a number of frontline organizations who work in the neighbourhood.

"This is an event that [we] put together to acknowledge the Indigenous ways of knowing and being, and to also bring community organizations together to create a safe place to meet, to talk and celebrate the work that we've been doing," said Pierre-Roscelli.

Jewel Pierre-Roscelli said that it's important for frontline organizations to be visible in the community. She would like for people who work in the neighbourhood to get to know one another. (Lenard Monkman/CBC)

She led the walk on Tuesday and said her favourite part about working in the neighbourhood is the people who live there.

"I want community members and the city of Winnipeg to see that we are proud to work in the North End. We are proud to be part of this community," said Pierre-Roscelli.

Strengthening Indigenous culture

4 months ago
Duration 1:51
​A special smudging ceremony took place in the North End of Winnipeg today. It's part of a program to strengthen Indigenous culture and bring the community together. ​ 1:51

'It's a beautiful thing'

Dawn Simmons grew up in the neighbourhood and is now a support worker at Manitou House, an organization that helps incarcerated people reintegrate back into the community.

"I love the North End. I think a lot of us lived through some traumas that all of us didn't necessarily need to go through, but it made me into who I am today," said Simmons.

Dawn Simmons grew up in the neighbourhood. She said the walk was a beautiful thing to see. (Lenard Monkman/CBC)

On the walk, she shed some tears as she bumped into old friends and people who have helped her in life.

"It's a beautiful thing to watch," said Simmons. 

"So coming with my co-workers here, to be able to do something so kind and to bring out the love is a beautiful thing."


Lenard Monkman is Anishinaabe from Lake Manitoba First Nation, Treaty 2 territory. He has been an associate producer with CBC Indigenous since 2016. Follow him on Twitter: @Lenardmonkman1