Decolonize Thanksgiving bike jam brings cyclists together for truth and reconciliation

Winnipeg’s cycling enthusiasts were out for a nice afternoon ride along the river trail while learning about colonization and reconciliation this Thanksgiving Monday.

The Decolonize Thanksgiving indigenous-led bike jamcombined biking and music in the spirit of reconciliation.

Organizer Adrian Alphonso knew he wanted to incorporate those things together when planning the event.

“Cycling brings me a spiritual connection to the land … and music is my creative or emotional outlet to bring me joy and bring people together,” said Alphonso, who works as a professional DJ.

Nearly 50 cyclists showed up at Stephen Juba Park for the bike jam. Their route took them down Waterfront Drive to The Forks before proceeding along the riverwalk, and then ending at Upper Fort Garry.

Along the ride, Alphonso played music from speakers mounted on his bike. He says the event is about healing and moving forward.

“Reconciliation is about learning truths, and action about what you’re going to do about it,” said Alphonso. “And decolonization is part of indigenous healing. So, indigenous people are healing, we’re decolonizing how our experiences affected us.”

At the end of the ride, the group gathered at Upper Fort Garry to hear Alphonso talk about his experiences, and to share their own. He says it will likely be the first of many similar events.

“What better way to come together, than to enjoy your day outside with music and biking,” he said.

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