Narratives, Inc. Amplifies Community Through Storytelling

At Narratives, the power of storytelling is a transformative force driving meaningful change in communities.

Since 2017, Narratives Inc. has been amplifying Indigenous and diverse voices through a holistic approach to supportive services. As a multidisciplinary organization, they excel in crafting meaningful and impactful stories through design, research, and community engagement. Storytelling serves as the thread that weaves the work together, honouring histories to elevate communities and promote healing. We sat down with Desiree Theriault to learn the Narratives story.

Desiree Theriault is a Red River Metis woman from Treaty One territory with ancestors from St. Laurent, La Broquerie and St. Boniface. At Narratives, she’s a partner and senior landscape designer, and as a proud Metis woman, Narratives’ mission resonates deeply with her. Desiree shares, “My primary role is in landscape architecture and memorialization, where I look at the power between stories, memories, and identity.” In practice, this looks like placemaking, storytelling about the land, and building community.

Desiree’s specialty at Narratives is just one part of the multitude of services they offer. Their offerings include planning, impact assessment, capacity building, research and learning, design, and land relations. Through their planning process, Narratives focuses on land relations and community visioning, imagining how the land might transform over the next 25 years. Their impact assessments analyze how new developments, such as roads or buildings, might affect the land’s environmental, cultural, social and spiritual fabric.  In capacity building, they work with nations to enhance training and empower individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to achieve their goals. Capacity building also includes negotiating for funding to implement climate or impact assessment strategies, community-led engagement, and conflict transformation.

“It’s really about emphasizing resilient communities,” summarizes Desiree. “We champion making sure the communities are at the forefront, the work is community-led, and we’re in the background supporting as needed.” Their ethos is to empower and support through a holistic approach to projects that bring everyone to the table.

Narratives’ diverse scope enables them to support all sorts of projects. They’ve worked on documentary productions, marketing campaigns, database creation, and archival research. One notable project is their collaboration with Main Street Project in Winnipeg. Main Street Project recently developed a comprehensive five-year strategy, and Narratives supported this effort by integrating anti-oppression principles and reconciliation initiatives. Their goal was to embed meaningful reconciliation into the strategy, not just pay lip service. This included establishing an Indigenous leadership circle and seeking feedback from their collective. “We engaged with different stakeholders like boots-on-the-ground community members, staff members, and folks who have utilized their services to identify culturally appropriate practices and policies that Main Street Project could implement over the next five years,” shares Desiree. The Narratives team is honoured to have contributed to this important work and looks forward to seeing Main Street Project continue its important path.

Similarly, Narratives looks forward to expanding its impact and growing as an organization. This fall, they’ll be relocating to 214 McDermot to better accommodate their growing team while staying local to the Exchange District. “There’s an energy in the Exchange District that’s about innovation, honouring heritage, honouring communities and diverse perspectives, where everyone comes together collectively,” says Desiree. It’s a neighbourhood that aligns with their values of fostering community, preserving heritage, and honouring stories.

Stay tuned for more to come from Narratives, Inc. As they move into their new space they hope to host community events like lunch and learns. If you’re interested in learning more, check them out online:

Instagram: @narrativesinc