A petition is looking to change Canada’s $20 bill to spotlight Indigenous women

“Autumn Peltier” by Claire Shannon-Akiwenzie, a digital artist, beader and educator based in unceded Musqueam, Tsleil Waututh and Squamish territory in Vancouver, BC. (Courtesy: Change The Bill)


An organization has started a petition calling on the Canadian government to reimagine the $20 bill to honour and recognize Indigenous women’s contributions to the country. 

The Native Women’s Association of Canada launched  the “Change The Bill” campaign in January. It aims to promote reconciliation through art by commissioning Indigenous artists to redesign the $20 bill with the faces of Indigenous women. 

“Canada has been printing money for over 150 years. In that time, an Indigenous woman has never been featured on a Canadian bank note,” reads its website.. 

Canada made history in 2018 when it featured civil rights activist and businesswoman Viola Desmond on the $10 bill, marking the first Black woman to ever be placed on a Canadian bank note. Desmond is known for her activism after being jailed and convicted for refusing to leave a whites-only area in a movie theater in 1946. 

“Change The Bill is not just about placing an Indigenous woman on a banknote, it is about recognizing the contributions and significance of Indigenous women in Canada and creating a more inclusive society,” CEO of NWAC, Lynne Groulx, said in a petition description. 

READ MORE: The AGO is celebrating hip-hop’s 50th anniversary by showcasing Indigenous women rappers

Here are three out of the 12 designs by Indigenous artists:

“Rita Joe” by Alexandra Beals, an Afro-Indigenous artist originally from Mi’kma’ki/Nova Scotia. Similar to Beals, Joe was a Mi’kmaq woman from Nova Scotia. Beals was inspired by her poetry and crafting growing up. Joe is known for being a highly respected elder in the community and as an inspiration and symbol of resilience. (Courtesy: Change The Bill)

“Glenna Simcoe” by Jennifer Faria, a Canadian painter and illustrator. She chose her great aunt, Glenna Simcoe, as the hero to feature on the bill. Simcoe is a member of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation. Faria learned about art, music and culture through Simcoe’s passion for the arts. (Courtesy: Change The Bill)
“Margaret Pictou” by Tracey Metallic, a Mi’kmaq artist born and raised on the shores of the Restigouche River. She is currently in her home community of Listuguj, in the territory of Gespe’gewagi. She chose Pictou because she was a soldier who joined the Royal Canadian Air Force to support her family. Her portrait in uniform was used on recruitment posters to encourage women to enlist. (Courtesy: Change The Bill)

The association is encouraging Canadians to sign and support its Change The Bill petition.. Its current goal is to achieve 35,000 signatures. As of Wednesday afternoon, it has gained over 31,000 names. 

“Placing an Indigenous woman on the bill would go far in recognizing the important but often overlooked contributions they have made to this country. Change is long overdue,” reads the website. 

To vote or purchase any of the 12 reimagined designs, you can visit this website.



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