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The Speech Act Project

The Speech Act Project

Galleries: archive Offsite Online

In the Marvin Francis Media Gallery

Coinciding With Brennan Mckay’s

Da 4 Seasons/ Niinwin Izhwebaadinoon/ Néwo ihkina

January 13, 2023 to February 25, 2023

Opening reception: Friday, January 13 from 5 to 9pm

Statement of project

Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery, in partnership with Winnipeg Trails Association have both taken on a leadership role in restoring and maintaining Indigenous Languages by encouraging the general public to engage with local language varieties, no matter what level of understanding, through art and story. In each language there is a differing philosophy between meaning, the constitution of sentences, concepts, learning, thoughts, references and intentionality. In philosophy of language and linguistics, a speech act is something expressed by an individual that not only presents information but performs an action as well.

The Speech Act’s special programming will utilize Indigenous art to contribute to the enrichment of Indigenous knowledge as well as the prevention of the loss of Indigenous languages in the Winnipeg area and worldwide online.

The following are highlighted in the gallery in celebration of the project’s completion…

Ryan Gorrie Bizindaadiwag

Installation at Michelle Jean Park, 65 Granville Street, Winnipeg

Ribbon cutting event: Saturday, October 15, 2022 

Ryan Gorrie, with Brook McIlroy Inc., will create a new installation on the North Winnipeg Parkway in Michelle Jean Park at the Norquay Community Centre.- a bench with sound! More details to come as our plans develop. Ryan Gorrie has been collaborating with Brook McIlroy since 2009, when he was retained as a key member of the design team for the award-winning Spirit Garden in Thunder Bay, and formally joined the firm in 2016 to lead the Winnipeg office and the Indigenous Design Studio.

Ryan is a member of Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek (Sand Point First Nation on Lake Nipigon) and strives to ensure the perpetuation of Indigenous culture through creative opportunities ranging from the crafting of traditional items for ceremonial use to large-scale landmark architecture. He is a licensed architect in Manitoba. In 2018, Ryan’s work was showcased in UNCEDED: Voices of the Land at the Venice Biennale along with the work of 17 other Indigenous architects and designers across Turtle Island. His work has been recognized with awards from professional bodies including the Ontario Association of Architects, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, and Ontario Wood Works. As part of a broader effort to support Indigenous presence in the design industry, Ryan has helped Brook McIlroy to source Indigenous suppliers for inclusion in projects. He also provides mentorship for Indigenous students and young designers who work at the firm.


Mobile App SpeechTrails


A Fortress of Indigenous Stories – At any given time, transmitting about, there exists the digital landscape. We are connecting to our digital networks with our upcoming Mobile App that will feature new and traditional stories. The idea is that these stories can be found through pins on the map and will be accessible day or night. Each pin will feature “an event” which can be a story, an artwork, a song, or any other cultural expression. We want to promote literacy of Indigenous languages outside of our gallery walls and on our Winnipeg trails.

Word of the day

Indigenous languages Cree and Ojibwe shared daily on social media platforms of both organizations. Teaching the Indigenous languages through the platforms in restoring the two of many initial languages of Turtle Island. Relevant images matching the words of each day help engage in the learning. Words/phrases shared consist of common basic questions for example “ let’s go for a walk”, greetings such as “Hello”, and the natural elements found walking on the trail such as “river”.


Learning the Languages With B (aka LLB)

LLB is a short mini series that is a fun interactive way about learning indigenous languages, being able to hear it pronounced by our language keepers. The video series broadcasts over the digital landscape for those who don’t have the language in their environment. Host/Creator Brennan Mckay invites guest learners to take part in an episode every week. In his research it states that sometimes learning a new language with someone makes it more engaging. Whether an extrovert or introvert, “Learning the language with B,” is engaging and interactive for our audience.



Share your experiences on the trails and photos on #speechact or #healingtrails #MbIndigenousLanguages


Funding for this project and MANY THANKS….

Thanks to the Government of Canada / Canadian Heritage – Indigenous Languages and Cultures Program – Indigenous Languages Component

Canadian Museum / Young Canada Works

The Trans Canada Trail

Winnipeg Foundation / Youth in Philanthropy (Vincent Massey Collegiate)

The Asper Foundation

First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg

Tokyo Smoke Exchange

Connie Chappel, Peter Kirby, Stephanie Arthur, Charmaine Manalang, Jennifer Smith, Oliver Botar, and Liz Garlicki