University of Winnipeg President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Annette Trimbee, was honoured with a virtual blanket ceremony by the Indigenous Advisory Circle (IAC) on May 28.
“I am extremely humbled that the Indigenous Advisory Circle chose to have a blanket ceremony for me,” said Dr. Trimbee. “Being wrapped in a Star Blanket is an incredible honour, and I am eternally grateful.”
“During my years as UWinnipeg President, it has been a pleasure working side-by-side the talented members of the IAC as we’ve worked towards the Indigenization of the university, which is one of our strategic directions.”
The ceremony was put together after it was announced Dr. Trimbee would be leaving her role at UWinnipeg at the end of July and moving to Edmonton, where her children reside, to become the new President and Vice-Chancellor of MacEwan University.
“As a new member to the university team, it was a bittersweet moment for me to have participated in my first and unfortunately my last IAC meeting with President Annette Trimbee,” said Jennefer Nepinak, Associate Vice-President of Indigenous Engagement. “I am very fortunate to have had this time with her and I have learned so much from her. The blanket ceremony was a small, but tremendously meaningful opportunity for the team to acknowledge Dr. Trimbee and honour her good work at The University of Winnipeg. We wish her well on her new chapter.”
Elder Myra Laramee, who is also an instructor in the Department of Urban and Inner-City Studies, led the blanket ceremony.
She explained blanket ceremonies take place for a variety of reasons, including during weddings, when someone is sick and needs community support, and in this instance, when someone like Dr. Trimbee “has given her all to the work she was involved in.”
“The community says this woman needs to be honoured and this woman needs to know that her journey forward from here means something to us, and we must give thanks,” Laramee said. “It’s full of love, its full of respect, and to be wrapped in that is a pretty special thing.”
The star blanket created for Dr. Trimbee was made by local star blanket designer Chantal Daniels. The colours selections were based off an art piece Dr. Trimbee’s husband, Kevin, provided Daniels.
As Chair of the IAC, Diane Roussin says it’s been a pleasure to work with Dr. Trimbee.
“It’s been such an honour to have an Indigenous woman head up the university,” Roussin said. “She led as a good leader, but I was particularly impressed and humbled in the work she did to inspire and implement the Indigenization of the academy.”
Asked what Dr. Trimbee’s legacy will be at UWinnipeg, Laramee offered up these words:
“When a Métis person, in particular a woman, is in such a position to influence the footprints of youth of all kinds, that is an exceptional woman.”