Bell Tower To Belize: Sounding The Conch Shell

This Summer, AYO! & Meet Me at the Bell Tower are joining the University of Manitoba Community Service Learning for an educational and cultural exchange in Belize!On Friday June 14, join us at the bell tower as we talk about the many adventures we have planned and to share our ideas with Michael, Kakeka & all those attending this exchange from June 19 to July 1, 2019.

Last year we were honoured to host a number of youth leaders from Belize at the bell tower while they were in town for UM Community Service Learning activities. Now, we are excited to send some AYO leaders to meet with Mayan youth in Belize as they develop their own movement they have named “Sounding The Conch Shell”. They shared with uus that they want this movement ro revive culture and stop the violence against the earth. Sounds like we have a lot in common!!

We would like to thank Anny Chen, all the people who have helped us with this opportunity including Pop Entertainment & Management, The Indigenous Family Centre and many more! See below a quote and an article that was written about the coming adventures:

Last March, Roberto Kus, a Maya youth from Belize, took part in a three-week exchange to Winnipeg. Roberto was particularly moved by Meet Me at the Bell Tower, a weekly gathering where he saw Indigenous youth come together to voice their concerns and take action to better their communities.

Roberto returned to Belize excited to work with his peers and create an opportunity for Maya youth to embrace their cultural identity, build their Indigenous leadership and envision a future for their communities. The following article is what Roberto Kus and Seferina Miss, two youth members of the JCS Planning Team, had to share about Sounding of the Conch Shell and the five-day youth camp that they are planning in Belize.

Read the whole article here.

RSVP to this Friday’s Bell Tower event on Facebook here.


A Place to Hang Your Stories Winnipeg Aug 20 – 31, 2014

Find below an opportunity to show support for Residential School Survivors and their intergenerational descendants through an art display called A PLACE TO HANG YOUR STORIES. Our friends at the Indigenous Family Centre, the same place we have Meet Me at the Bell Tower Each Friday has stepped up to the plate to volunteer their space for this important project.


In fall 2013, Artist Dawn Marie Marchand was approached by a community member who knew that the final Truth and Reconciliation Commission event was going to Edmonton March 2014. Knowing the power of Walking With Our Sisters Exhibit which provided immense awareness to the issue of Murdered and Missing Indigenous women, it also gave people a voice to be heard and often much needed healing. She wondered if such a project could happen for Residential School Survivors and their intergenerational descendants who are still affected even if they did not attend themselves.

This project was born from that original conversation. A public announcement for paper bricks was made, that would be visual representations of stories from Indian Residential School or how it affected them or their descendants. Art builds were held around Alberta which included Edmonton, Calgary, St. Paul and others. Many more bricks were mailed from across Canada. Notably Winnipeg held art builds where over 72 participants contributed bricks to the art installation. These were collaged onto the canvas walls of a gazebo to create a one room school house.

Each brick represented a story that for some were the first steps towards healing. The bricks were treated in a way that honours each story and participant. They were all smudged and wrapped in prints while they were being compiled. When they were being installed they were smudged again and not allowed to touch the floor.

At the viewing, people were asked to hold a stone in their left hand and leave it with use when they left. These stones will be laid into the walking paths of theHealing Garden at Blue Quills First Nation College. It is a symbolic representation of placing the hurts under our feet.

The installation was well received with 1000’s of people attending. The feedback was incredibly positive and received good publicity as it was then moved to CBC Radio at Edmonton Place after the TRC event. It was then requested to be viewed again in Edmonton at the International Works Festival where it was one of the feature exhibits in the Big Tent with Ken Armstrong’s powerful photography on Homelessness in I Edmonton. It was the most visited exhibit averaging over 1,200 people daily.

There was a great deal of dialogue created with this predominantly mainstream non-native event.

We are looking to fund the travel expenses to Winnipeg, please help share much needed healing and awareness.

A venue has been located and donated in-kind:

Indigenous Family Centre
470 Selkirk Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R2W 2M5

With dates set for August 20 – 31, 2014

Women In HERstory

So this week’s theme was “Women in History”… as we tend to do at the Bell Tower, while chatting about our theme, we made a last minute change. One of our younger bell tower regulars said ‘its not HIS story, its HER story!” We thought that was a great idea, so that is why we called this post ‘Women in HERstory’ instead of the other one! After we finished our bell ringing, megaphoning, picture taking and rowdiness outside, we moved into the Family Centre for our Prizes and History Lessons (which was tons of fun, since we were all the teachers). Find below a list of the women honoured and celebrated at our Bell Tower event, celebrating the many contributions of women throughout the ages, and throughout the world.


Bell Tower’s List of Women to Celebrate

  • Irene Bedard (Indigenous Actress & trailblazer)
  • Gladys Malcolm  (Survivor, Inspiration)
  • Bell Tower Ladies (currently making history!!)
  • Sacajawea (of the Lewis and Clark Expedition)[we also thought it was cool she was a mother and took her baby with her on the adventure]
  • Simone Weil (French Holocaust Survivor & Women’s right’s defender)
  • All of our Grandmothers & Ancestors (They stood strong for us, so we could all be standing here today)
  • Judy Wascalycia-Leis (former Member of Parliament for Winnipeg North for 13 years)
  • The 3 Neices: Francoise, Margeurite & Marie Langlois (travelled with Samuel De Champlain after being gifted to him!)[We had some of the descendants of these ladies in attendance!]
  • Mary Crow Dog (Super Granny)
  • Louise Michele (French Women’s Political activist)

You are invited to join us next week as we explore traditional teachings of the FIRE, in an effort to encourage safety in the community, also an opportunity for young men and community members to learn about their responsibility as men (protectors of the fire).

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE Re-Igniting The Fire FB Event Page!

Bell Tower FAMILY – Jan 17, 2014

Meet Me @ the Bell Tower is a youth led anti-violence movement that began in the heart of Winnipeg’s North End. Since November 2011, community members have gathered at the North End Bell Tower on Selkirk Avenue and Powers Street in partnership with the Indigenous Family Centre and AYO!Aboriginal Youth Opportunities continue to meet weekly into 2014. At these weekly gatherings, the North End Megaphone is offered to community members to share their hopes, ideas and announcements, we march around the neighbourhood singing and drumming and we celebrate the solutions that we see in the word around us.

fam bt


This week, Meet Me @ the Bell Tower gathers for the 3rd time in 2014 for FAMILY. We will discuss what role family plays in keeping our communities safe and celebrate the family we have created at the Bell Tower. You are invited to come out, new attendees get first opportunity to ring the bell (yes we ring the bell), and if you have an idea or an opportunity to share you are encouraged to share – you will find a supportive community environment and a great launching pad with willing volunteers and knowledgeable helpers.

Join the Facebook event here:

Check out the MM@BT Page on the AYO Website:

LIKE the official MM@BT Facebook Page:

Follow AYO on Twitter: