20 dollar bill canada

Several new ideas pitched to replace Canada's $20 bill design

A new campaign is calling for Canada's $20 bills to be reimagined in order to put the spotlight on Indigenous women and their contributions to the country. 

The Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) launched the "Change The Bill" campaign in January, which seeks to promote reconciliation through art by commissioning Indigenous artists to reimagine the $20 bill with Indigenous women at the focus. 

"Canada has been printing money for over 150 years. In that time, an Indigenous woman has never been featured on a Canadian bank note," the campaign's website reads. 

Plenty of reimagined Canadian bills have circulated on the web in the past, and in 2018, new versions of the $10 bill began to feature civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond, who was the first Canadian woman to appear on a banknote. 

"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," the campaign reads. 

One design by Mando Littlechild, features a portrait of the artist's late Kokom (grandmother), Sarah Burnstick, who was a residential school survivor and powwow dancer. 

20 dollar bill canada

"Sarah Burnstick" by Mando Littlechild. Source: Change The Bill

Another design by Alexandra Beals honours poet Rita Joe, a Mi'kmaq woman from Nova Scotia, who was well-known for her poetry and crafting. 

20 dollar bill canada

"Rita Joe" by Alexandra Beals. Source: Change The Bill

Artist Anna Heffernan chose to honour Elsie Knott, the first woman to be elected as Chief in Canada, when she was elected to lead Curve Lake First Nation in 1954. 

20 dollar bill canada

"Elsie Knott" by Anna Heffernan. Source: Change The Bill

One design by Laura Deiter pays tribute to Cindy Blackstock, a Gitxsan advocate who is nationally and internationally respected for her fight for the rights of Indigenous children. 

20 dollar bill canada

"Cindy Blackstock" by Laura Deiter. Source: Change The Bill

Tracey Metallic depicts Margaret Pictou, who was part of the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII, and whose portrait was used on recruitment posters to encourage women to enlist. 

20 dollar bill canada

"Margaret Pictou" by Tracey Metallic. Source: Change The Bill

"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," said Lynne Groulx, CEO of NWAC. 

"Educating future generations about the contributions of Indigenous women and fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of their significance creates a more just and equitable society for all Canadians." 

The Change The Bill petition to reimagine the $20 banknote has garnered over 30,000 signatures at the time of writing. 

All of the reimagined designs are also available for purchase online.

Lead photo by

Change The Bill 

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