Being A Good Relative

Margaret Roscelli

Community Events / April 29th, 2024

Featured image: Margaret Roscelli, Jewel’s Kunshi in her traditional wear for an interview for the Sakihiwe Festival

A look at how Vincent Design celebrated Earth Day and reflections from Jewel.

As a Dakota woman, I have often heard Elders and knowledge carriers saying our phrase of “Mitakuye Owasin.” In English, it roughly translates to “all my relations” or “we are all related”. This phrase is held closely to the core of our guiding values and spirituality, as Dakota people. The teachings that have been shared with me during Inipi (sweat) ceremony, is that we always honour and respect all beings – the two-legged, the four-legged, our relatives with wings, and so on. After each round of Inipi, we acknowledge the stones coming into ceremony with us, because the stones are our grandmothers and our grandfathers, they are part of Unci Maka, Grandmother Earth.

Jewel and Leah Gazan, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre at Picnic in the Park/No Stone Unturned 2023
In photo: Jewel and Leah Gazan, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre at Picnic in the Park/No Stone Unturned 2023

What does it mean to be a good relative?

At Vincent Design, our identity is centred around being a good relative. It is how we look at examining our processes of ensuring we are doing things in a good way when working with different First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. It is about how we evaluate ways to minimize our impact on the environment and focus on sustainability. Most of all, being a good relative is a major part of our office culture in making sure that staff have opportunities to engage with Indigenous knowledge and ceremonies, and that we are a safe space for non-Indigenous staff to learn and respectfully ask questions. For us, being a good relative extends beyond our office walls to everyone we work with. 

Jewel, Agathe Chartrand, Lorraine Coutu-Lavallee, June Bruce and Shaun
In photo: Jewel, Agathe Chartrand, Lorraine Coutu-Lavallee, June Bruce and Shaun.

Part of my role is to find ways to have a meaningful, positive impact within our community of the North End and Downtown area of Winnipeg. This year for Earth Day, some of our team members joined the Main Street Helpers Walking Group to spend time tidying up Main Street, hand food and snacks out to our relatives and share lateral love and kindness. The Main Street Helpers walking group is a group of organizations and volunteers who meet every Tuesday and Thursday at 9:30 a.m. to do this walk for our community. This walk is a partnership between Downtown Community Safety Partnership, Ogijiita Pimatiswin Kinamatwin (OPK), Action Therapists, and any others who can join on a week-by-week basis.

I am so thankful to be able to introduce my colleagues to new experiences and to be able to join the community in doing this important work. Watch our video of the team joining the Main Street Helpers Walking Group.

As my Kunshi, meaning Grandmother in Dakota, has said to me time and time again, “It is our responsibility to take care of each other and Unci Maka. She sustains all life.”