Opportunities – March 2018

Do you want to get involved with the AYO team in Winnipeg? Take out your calendar and circle these dates!


Inner City Voices (radio show): bi-weekly, hour long radio program featuring a panel of real people sharing real stories, discussing real topics and celebrating real music. Listen to old episodes of the show by clocking  HERE.
Monday March 12, 5-6pm on CKUW 95.9fm
Monday March 26, 5-6pm on CKUW 95.9fm

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Speak Cree? (free community language nest): this weekly community space invites Cree/Inninew speakers of all dialects, ages and experience levels to learn and share the language!
Tuesdays: March 6March 13, March 20 & March 27 @ 6:30pm
@ Ralph Brown Community Centre – 460 Andrews St

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Fearless R2W (Child welfare education & advocacy group): We meet weekly and invite parents and community helpers to come build their networks and system literacy.
Wednesdays @ 6:00pm @ Turtle Island Neighbourhood Centre
March 7 – Learning Circle with Winnipeg Boldness Project
March 14 – Advocacy & Crafts
March 21 – Topic To Be Determined….
March 28 – Sharing Circle

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Meet Me at the Bell Tower (anti-violence, community building gathering): weekly event for families and youth to encourage healthy living. We also connect members of the community with relevant supports in creative ways.
Fridays @ 6:00pm @ 470 Selkirk – Indigenous Family Centre
March 9 – Restoring Justice
March 16 – Food As Resistance
March 23 / March 30 – Topics To Be Determined….

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AYO Politix (system literacy, self directed learning for Indigenous youth): We meet in local businesses to brain storm topics and plan solutions and actions to support our community and AYO initiatives.
Mental Wellness Brain Storm, Saturday March 17 @ 12:00pm
Newcastle Restaurant – 1010 Main Street 

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Midnight Medicine Walk (cultural walk for those being sexually exploited on the streets): In response to the recent verdicts relating to Tina Fontaine and injustices across the country we will be meeting at
March 19 @ 11:45pm on Alexander & Waterfront

March 17,2010-2018

AYO To Celebrate 8th Birthday: Nothing has been planned yet, but keep your eyes posted to the page or surprise AYO team members with birthday gifts all month!



Fire Safety Tips and an Opportunity for Youth

AYO & Meet Me at the Bell Tower have seen far too many of our relatives fall victim to preventable fires and that’s why we hosted the FIRE SAFETY BELL TOWER on Friday February 23rd, 2018. We were pleased to announce our partnership with the Fire ED Community, in an attempt to provide young leaders in our community with mentorship and fire safety skills that we can then offer to schools and youth groups in our communities. We are ready and able to use public education alongside our many partners who want to help give youth a fighting chance to live to our full life’s potential and be positive contributors to society. AYO leaders will be learning new life safety skills to be fire safe and helping all young people in our neighborhood and province to achieve the same positive results.

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At the Bell Tower, we asked our relatives what do we need to do to to prevent fires? Here is what was said:


  • Make sure there are working and up to date smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in your home
  • Keep flammable items away from heat such as lighters, stacks of paper, electronics cords,
  • Use safety locks when small children are around for dangerous items such as lighters, flammable liquids, etc
  • Children should not be handling or using fire
  • Share traditional teachings of fire, and fire keepers so that Indigenous children can have respect and understanding for fire, and learn not not abuse it


  • Is there technology available that can detect smoke levels before to much exposure?
  • are there fire proof materials that can be used to build houses? Is this affordable or not affordable?
  • Do all the kids in our neighbourhood know what do in case of a fire? (aka home safety plan, “stop, drop and roll”, etc)

A big THANK YOU to Chris Clacio (Community Safety Facilitator) and the AYO team for facilitating this conversation, and thank you to Charlaine for writing down the notes!

If you or someone you know would like to get involved with this project, we are looking for local partners, and also wanting to connect with schools in Winnipeg’s inner city!


More about our friends at Fire ED:
The Fire-ED Interactive Community is committed to promoting equality of opportunity, valuing diversity and tackling social exclusion. We want to make sure that equality and diversity is at the heart of everything we do. We believe that strong communities are places where people feel safe, where the environment is welcoming, where people feel they are able to take action for the benefit of themselves and their community, where they feel that their concerns are heard and responded to. It’s not about political correctness or box-ticking, but about making sure we provide the kind of services that are needed, in a way that does not exclude anyone. Join the Fire-ED Interactive Movement For Eliminating Preventable Fires on social media @FireEDCommunity

January 2018 Opportunities


We’re halfway through January, but it’s not too late to get involved with AYO! in 2018! Check out these opportunities for urban Indigenous youth and community members this month with Fearless R2W, Canadian Roots Exchange Youth Reconciliation Initiative, AYO Politix, Meet Me at the Bell Tower and Inner City Voices!


The Canadian Roots Exchange National Story Blanket Tour – Winnipeg Stop
Jan. 16 – Jan 18
EVENT: Jan 17 / 6-9pm
Canadian Museum for Human Rights – 85 Israel Asper Way

Join the Winnipeg Youth Reconciliation Initiative Team as they welcome the NATIONAL STORY BLANKET to Winnipeg at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights! Stories from youth leaders from across Canada of reconciliation, community and solidarity! There will also be an activity Wed January 17th from 6-9pm at the museum!


Fearless R2W Mental Health Supports
Thursday, January 18 at 6 PM – 8 PM
Turtle Island Community Centre – 510 King Street

Join the Fearless R2W team as we learn from the WRHA about what types of mental health supports we have available in the city!


Bell Tower Pipe Ceremony
Friday, January 19 at 6 PM – 8 PM
470 Selkirk Ave

Join us as we sit together in ceremony to pray for a good year with the bell tower family and the whole village! Ninoondawah Richard will be smoking his pipe, but all pipe carriers and drummers are welcome to come sit with us!!


The Culture Brain Storm
Saturday, January 20 at 12 PM – 1:30 PM
Newcastle Restaurant -1010 Main Street

Urban Indigenous young people are invited to come sit with the AYO leaders and discuss our CULTURE initiatives! We will also welcome any knowledge keepers to share their idea with us on how we can approach reclaiming this important part of our identity as First Nations, Metis and Inuit young people!

What type of cultural opportunities would you like to see? Ceremonies? Language? Elder/Youth activities?

We’ll also discuss the AYO culture initiatives:
– Youth Pipe Ceremonies
– BYOD – Bring Your Own Drum
– Midnight Medicine Walk
– AYO Language (Cree/Ojibwe)

**This is our first time going to Newcastle at 1010 Main Street, come on down and support a local North End restaurant**


2nd Inner City Voices Show of 2018
Monday, January 22 at 5 PM – 6 PM
CKUW Radio 95.9fm – 515 Portage Ave

New music, guests, and interviews on inner city topics that matter to you! Monday at 5pm on CKUW Radio 95.9fm in Winnipeg! Post in the event shout outs or events you want us to share on air
Listen to CKUW online here: www.CKUW.ca/listen


Fearless R2W Sharing Circle
Thursday, January 25 at 6 PM – 8 PM
Turtle Island Community Centre – 510 King Street

Monthly sharing circle, come share with us!

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Mental Health Bell Tower #BellLetsTalk
Friday, January 26 at 6 PM – 8 PM
470 Selkirk

This week we discuss Mental Health and also encourage those in attendance to take action in various ways: Participating in the #BellLetsTalk Day Jan 31,2018; supporting one of the BLT Winnipeg organizations; Do one of the 5 simple ways as discussed by bell; or Access supports with the WRHA. We will also have guest speakers Andi Sharma and Shania Pruden in attendance to share their stories with us! What other ways can we share to help people improve their mental wellness? You’re invited to join us and record a message of HOPE we can share via Video on the MM@BT Facebook page!


Rogue Voices (Inner City Voices)
Monday, January 29 at 5 PM – 6 PM
CKUW Radio 95.9fm – 515 Portage Ave

Sometimes in 2018, there’s a 5th Monday in a month….and on those Mondays we bring you ROGUE VOICES!! Rogue Voices is an hour long episode from 5-6pm combining Inner City Voices and Rogue Primate shows together focusing on topics of ecological importance and how they can relate to inner city living. Tune in to CKUW Radio 95.9fm for this special collaboration! Guests will be announced, but we can reveal one of the voices we’ll be hearing from is Audrey Logan, a local knowledge keeper! 

400 Toys Needed to Make Christmas Brighter for North End Children

Hello Winnipeg!

AYO and Meet Me at the Bell Tower are proud to support our relatives at the North End Family Centre as we work to get as many toys together as we can for their annual Christmas Party. This year we are hoping to get 400 toys to donate, can you help us?


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If you want to help, you can get at the AYO team tonight at the Bell Tower or anytime before the December 14th at 6pm at St Johns Cathedral ( the one beside St John’s Park, in the graveyard)! We will be sure to keep you up to date on the AYO/MM@BT Facebook pages!

See you tonight!

6 Years Later: Meet Me at the Bell Tower

This Friday November 17th at 6:00pm, you’re invited to a celebration of community building and peace at the North End Bell Tower (470 Selkirk Ave) as we celebrate our 6th birthday!

Join the #BellTowerFamily as we welcome special guests, live entertainment, bell tower awards, cake and of course prizes to “6 Years Later”, our birthday celebration. Whether you’ve been coming for years or have been meaning to come out for your first time, this is the perfect moment to come out. We will hear from youth leader Kakeka Thundersky about why building community is important to her; Winnipeg’s own Joe Curtis will share his Meet Me at the Bell Tower original song; and of course Cake from Gunn’s Bakery, and our yearly recognition of community the Bell Tower Awards. If you want to help, bring yourself, a friend, a prize to donate, a song to share or words to gift to the community!

All the festivities begin at 6:00pm, volunteers are asked to show up at 5:30pm. If you would like to donate, volunteer or schedule a media interview please email Quinton at Q@ayomovement.com.

Crab Bucket by Matthew Shorting

Crab in  the bucket, we may have heard this term and I wonder…why is it so difficult to support those that are successful instead of trying to tear them down?

A lot of people in Winnipeg have difficulty with supporting Indigenous people.  People who have overcome many barriers that have been placed before us throughout history. Don’t believe me check out: Wab Kinew, Robert Falcon Ouellette, Don Burnstick, Adam Beach, Inez, Ashely Callingbull-Burnham, Tanya Tagak.

If we choose to see flaws only, that’s something that needs to be worked on. Paint the whole picture– look for their gifts. Quit trying to use flaws as if there always going remain that way and stop trying to generalize that behavior to their whole being.  At the end of the day, do we even have any knowledge of who they truly are? Hear-say is not truth.

We all have flaws,  so who are we to judge? What you can do is have compassion for their pain that drove them to unhealthy behaviors and talk to them instead of about them. Connection and relationships change people by not being alone, isolated and ridiculed. Shaming doesn’t work. Courage outlasts fear. Love will always conquer hate. 


Of course we learnt unhealthy unconscious negative behavior. The survival  mechanisms from intergenerational pain is insidious, cunning and powerful. However, that can change gradually by connection and by paying attention to it. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they have, with the resources available to them. Know the difference between unintentional and intentional behavior. Quit trying to bring yourself into the light by calling people down – let them have their shine and time. No one’s perfect. No one’s perfect. No one’s Perfect. 

YES we need boundaries and discernment when the person is unwilling or unable to change harmful behaviors. YES we need support each other when everything is trying to divide, separate and conquer us. And NO, this is not an excuse to not grow or be your best every single day. 

HUMILITY Is realizing that no one is above or below another and that all of life matters.

Be like the grass outside. It gets stomped on, burnt and walked allover. Yet when it’s a hot day and we go to the ground, that grass is cool and gentle. That grass is always kind no matter what. No, It doesn’t mean  be a doormat or give of yourself until your hurting yourself and those around you either.

Creators love is Like the sun, it shines on all of us no matter what.

Food As Medicine Notes

On September 8th, 2017, approximately 80 residents of Winnipeg’s inner city came together in a special event featuring the Bell Tower Family, the National Diabetes Association and researchers from the University of Manitoba to discuss FOOD AS MEDICINE. The conversation was highlighted by our usual Food Not Bombs vegetable soup (veggies donated by Food Fare) and some delicious Bannock Pizza from Neechi Commons. The discussion asked community members to identify ways we could use food to improve our health, how to improve services and costs so that all members of our community could access healthy and culturally relevant food.


Find below a summary of our conversations grouped into the following 7 areas:


  • Easy access food banks for people with a disability, wheelchair or walker
  • More emergency food available in the community
  • More MILK available for seniors AND children at food banks


  • Free Gyms
  • Exercise classes for low income people
  • More access to cultural/traditional health activities (example: singing/dancing/pow wow classes)
  • More opportunities in the community for people struggling with addictions


  • More community gardens with traditional food (not just flowers)
  • Free herbal tea
  • Teach how to grow herbs and traditional herbs
  • Year round community gardens (including green house and winter activities where applicable)
  • Bring back Indigenous corn


  • Diabetes “rehab”
  • eating well with diabetes
  • Foot care if you have been amputated for diabetes reasons
  • Heart care for people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol
  • Increased access to alternative sweeteners (sugar and aspartame are both bad for us)
  • More information about the harms and benefits of alternative sweeteners and sugar
  • Access to appropriate foods for those who are diabetic or lactose intolerant


  • Increase access to traditional foods on the land
  • How to braid sweetgrass  lessons
  • More berry picking groups (and planting berries in the city and out of the city, when we can provide transportation)
  • Sharing stories about how food can be medicine


  • More community shuttles to grocery stores
  • Host a community vegetable sale at the end of every month (possibly at the bell tower)
  • Lower prices for healthy, organic food
  • Increased communications and access to farmers markets
  • Increase access to free healthy  family dinners throughout the week (like cooking classes that let you take what you cook home to your family ex. “make and take”)
  • Cheaper prices for local fish


  • Opportunities to teach community members how to grow traditional foods (in the city)
  • Cooking and preserving classes (for jams, pickling, etc.)
  • Cook Book/cooking classes with healthy recipes and ho to cook on a budget
  • More opportunities to learn about the teachings behind food (spiritually)
  • Recipe exchange program between community members and nutrition experts
  • Increased information about the dangers of dye food colouring in our foods
  • Increase the marketing of healthy foods locally
  • Art classes – make collages of healthy lifestyles
  • Ban marketing junk food to children
  • Ban free refills of sugary rinks at fast food restaraunts
  • Healthy cooking video series for YouTube/Facebook
  • Fire department could come to the bell tower to teach about first aid
  • Free Seeds / Seed Bank or Library

As you can see, there are various long term and short term initiatives or projects we could be working on as a community to try and improve the health of our relatives living in poverty or those who are already living with chronic illness. We will be sharing the academic report with community members when it is finished and will also be continuing our relationship with the National Aboriginal Diabetes Association to ensure we can do prevention and maintenance for our relatives living with diabetes.


Natalie & Joyce from the U of MB rang the bell together