Site at The Forks is ‘holy ground,’ says Jennifer Spence
Some in Winnipeg’s indigenous community are angry that the Oodena Circle, a sacred site at The Forks, was ripped up by a cyclocross competition over the weekend.
Hundreds of riders cycled through a winding course at The Forks as part of the Canadian Cyclocross Championships and the Manitoba Grand Prix of Cyclocross on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
The track ripped up the grass at Oodena Circle, a traditional meeting place where many ceremonies and powwows are held, says Jennifer Spence, who added that the site’s energy has been disrupted.
“The best way that I can explain it is if you go to a church with your bike, you’re not going to ride over the graves, you’re not going to drive into the church and up and down the aisle and disrupt that space,” she said Wednesday.
“That’s holy ground, and that’s kind of how we see it.”
Spence said The Forks should have consulted the indigenous community about the use of Oodena Circle.
“I know there should be something where consultation is made or where consideration is made, where people think about what this space means to us,” she said.
She added that some in the community are discussing “cleansing that ground and having [a] ceremony there and helping that energy to kind of come back to where it used to be.”
Officials with The Forks have not yet responded to CBC’s requests for comment.