Winnipeg mayoral candidate Glen Murray says he will do whatever it takes to restore Thunderbird House on Main Street.
On Tuesday, Murray committed to working with Indigenous leaders as well as other levels of government to restore Thunderbird House to its former glory.
Opened in 2000, Thunderbird House features an exposed timber structure and a roof designed to look like an eagle sheltering the building with its outspread wings, according to the Winnipeg Architecture Foundation. The building was designed by Indigenous architect Douglas Cardinal and is the spiritual anchor of the Neeginan project.
The Neeginan Centre is a non-profit organization that has a board of directors from community-based organizations offering services and development opportunities for Indigenous people.
Thunderbird House has suffered vandalism and theft in recent years with a fence being constructed around the cultural hub last September.
“It is shocking and unacceptable, and a symbol of systemic racism that still remains in our society,” Murray said in a statement.
“We should all be ashamed that it has not been treated with the same reverence and respect as Winnipeg’s other social and cultural institutions, like the Canadian Museum of Human Rights or Winnipeg Art Gallery have been.”
Murray said that as mayor he would restore the building and surrounding area as a vibrant, inclusive, welcoming gathering place. He added that Winnipeg would never again neglect the “sacred space.”
Winnipeggers head to the polls on Oct. 26 to elect a new mayor and council.