Public art installation encouraging respect between Indigenous and settler cultures unveiled at The Forks

Arts, Culture & Heritage

Tanisi keke totamak …. Ka cis teneme toyak by KC Adams is the second of three public art pieces supported by The Winnipeg Foundation

For immediate release: A new art installation by KC Adams, Tanisi keke totamak …. Ka cis teneme toyak (phonetic pronunciation: tan-i-si ke-ke to-ta-mak ka cis teen-ne-me tō-yak), which means What can we do, to respect each other, is examining reconciliation by highlighting the opportunity for harmony between Indigenous and settler communities. It is located at the Peace Meeting Site, close to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights at The Forks. A formal opening will take place at a later date, when it is safe to gather. 

The 11-foot-tall installation is fabricated out of steel and concrete, with internally lighted flames. This is the second of three public art installations commissioned by The Winnipeg Foundation for The Forks. The other installations are by Val Vint and Jaimie Isaac. All three installations are being supported by project curator Dr. Julie Nagam. 

“This sculpture tells the story of the brotherhood between the benevolent spirit Wesakechak (phonetic pronunciation: we-sa-ke-chak) and the Wolf. Wesakechak represents the Indigenous people, and the Wolf represents settlers. Wesakechak is a carrier of knowledge: community, family, land, water, plants, creatures, and the spirit world. The Wolf brings forth wisdom and power when embodying ‘community’ but is disastrous when acting as a lone wolf. 

At the base of this piece is a pow-wow drum that binds Wesakechak together with the Wolf. As they stare at each other, they see the possibilities of a better future, an opportunity to live in harmony. This work asks, “What can we do to respect each other? Will the flames be healing or disastrous?” 

“The Winnipeg Foundation recognizes the integral role truth and reconciliation plays in our collective journey forward,” says Rick Frost, CEO, The Winnipeg Foundation. “As we work to help ensure an equitable future for all, it is paramount we educate ourselves about our history and make space for all voices. Winnipeg’s Public Arts Policy states public art ‘gives voice to community and builds relationships between diverse groups.’ These three public artworks are one way The Foundation is working to realize its vision of ‘a Winnipeg where community flourishes for all.’”

The first public art installation commissioned by The Foundation, Chi-kishkayhitamihk si te li neu Biizon (Education is the New Bison) by artist Val Vint, opened in June 2020. A 12-foot bison constructed out of steel replicas of books, it recognizes the importance education, truth and reconciliation play in our cultural conversation.

The third art piece, The Eighth and Final Fire by Jaimie Isaac, will be installed later this year. It will feature eight spherical globes, internally lit by strong solar panels of varying colours. It recognizes the Seven Fires prophecies of the Anishinaabe, which foretells the coming of settlers on Turtle Island and the complexity of the relationships throughout history. It will be located at the MMIWG monument, close to the Oodena Celebration Circle.

The $500,000 investment for the three works of art comes as part of The Winnipeg Foundation’s ongoing Green Spaces Strategy, which has seen the revitalization of parks and other public spaces throughout the downtown, including the Saint-Boniface Belvédère. The three artists are the co-creators of Niimaamaa, which was also supported in part by The Foundation and is located at Niizhoziibean (formerly South Point) at The Forks.


To respect public health orders, no opening event will be held at this time. Interviews with KC Adams and Rick Frost can be scheduled. Please direct all media inquiries/questions to:

LuAnn Lovlin, CFRE
Director of Communications & Marketing, The Winnipeg Foundation
Email LuAnn
T: 204-944-9474 ext. 232
C: 204-781-9336

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