Thursday, October 14, 2010
There are two people that are now synonymous with the Thunderbird House: Stephanie Eyolfson and Chrissy Gauthier. They are doing great work out of the Thunderbird House. The Thunderbird House has a Sweatlodge that is open to the public. People have access to a Sweatlodge within walking distance from the inner-city. A very high number of Indian people live in the inner-city (and all other regions) of Winnipeg. There are different Elders and Teachers that have access to use of the Sweat Lodge. You know how Indians are, they follow certain gurus(Teachers/Elders)and avoid others. That's the nature of people. You associate with who you are comfortable with. The Thunderbird House also has an Elder's room that people can come and use for Teachings or just visiting. The Thunderbird House is a community centre type operation. The room is large and can hold about three hundred fifty people for an event.
The Thunderbird House DOES NOT receive an Operation and Maintence grant and does not have a budget to cover all of its expenses. Rental of the Centre would ease some of their funding shortcomings. For some reason, the numerous Aboriginal organizations in Winnipeg, Manitoba rarely, if at all, use the services of the Thunderbird House. It is a common trait amoung Aboriginal organizations, they do not network with each other, never mind support each other. Many of the Aboriginal organizations host a number of meetings, seminars, conferences throughout the year, but much of their business goes to Winnipeg hotels.
That is one of the things that has to change, Indians supporting other Indians. There are times when you have no choice to use other venues, but if the service is there why not use it?
Assemble of Manitoba Chiefs is notorious for supporting itself at the expense of other Aboriginal initiatives. AMC will not use the Aboriginal press in its communique. They spend a lot of money putting out glossy magazines to highlight their achievements. The Aboriginal press is not considered for use. The press is shunned if an article spotlights shortcomings in our Aboriginal political elite. There are other Indian organizations that use this practice as well, the Manitoba Metis Federation, the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, Southern Chiefs Organization and a host of smaller quasi-political and service delivery agencies.
Would like to see the Indian agencies supporting each other. That includes the few Aboriginal media papers, social agencies, consulting groups, marketing groups, political allies and other groups. Perhaps it could start with AMC, MKO, SCO, MMF, taking a look at Thunderbird House and see how the House can meet their meeting place needs.