Behind the Dress: A call to keep fighting for our kids

A conversation with the artist behind Awasisuk, the newest Community Corridor installation

Friday, March 24, 2023, 5:30 p.m. — 7:00 p.m.

This event has passed.

This section of the orange jingle dress shows a thunderbird. Partially obscured.

Event details

Canadian Museum for Human Rights, The Manitoba Teachers’ Society Classrooms, Level 1

Join us on Friday, March 24 to learn more about Awasisuk, the latest installation in the Community Corridor.

Hear directly from the creator of this inspiring project, Amanda Grieves, and her family. Sharing the stories sewn directly into the dress, she’ll speak to the lived experiences that lead to its creation and the ongoing issues it works to advocate for. This inspiring panel will be moderated by local writer and activist Michael Redhead Champagne. 

This event will feature a moderated discussion and Q and A, followed by light refreshments and the chance to engage directly with the creator of Awasisuk and her family.

The event is free to attend, and everyone is welcome.

About the panelists

Amanda Grieves

My name is Amanda Grieves Bradburn. I am a dressmaker and I am a mother of 6 growing children. I was born and raised in Bunibonibee Cree Nation, also known as Oxford House.

My parents are Alan Dennis Grieves and my late mother, Roberta Grieves. I have work experience in the mental health and addictions area as well as certificates in trauma‐informed care. I am also a facilitator for the Circle of Reconciliation. I have showcased my artwork at the Health and Leisure Mart in Thompson.

I facilitate ribbon skirt workshops and volunteer my time and share ribbon skirt teachings at the homeless shelter and at 95 Cree Road. I have made and donated skirts to moms, youths and students in the community. I also made two jingle dresses, one in red and one in orange, in honour of Every Child Matters and MMIWG with the community during Indigenous Peoples Day festivities.

As far back as I could remember as a child, my dad was a helper in my community, as well as my late Grandfather Rev. Vernon Grieves. I feel this is where I inherited my gifts of advocacy, to use my gifts to serve others that need the support. I use my creativity and I pass down my skills to other youth and mothers. This is where I want to use my voice to speak of self‐care, forgiveness, determination, love, truth and resilience, to use my gifts to empower others through creative expression.

Alan Dennis Grieves

Alan Dennis Grieves is the son of Rev. Vernon Grieves and Adelaide Koah. Born and raised in Bunibonibee Cree Nation, also known as Oxford House Alan is a residential school survivor having attended the Oxford House Day School until eighth grade and the Portage Residential School throughout high school. Afterwards Alan went on to receive a diploma in business administration.

During his time at day school Alan experienced physical abuse. He continued to experience physical and sexual abuse while attending the Portage Residential School.

Due to the colonial policies of the church and government Alan was forbidden from practicing and experiencing his traditional culture throughout his youth. Despite this Alan is continuing to regain traditional knowledge as taught by his grandparents.

Throughout his life Alan has held a variety of roles including being elected to chief for two two‐year terms and being elected to councillor for multiple two‐year terms. Alan is the proud father of twelve children and multiple grandchildren.

Alan is really proud of his daughter Amanda’s efforts to relearn their traditional history through creating ribbon skirts and dresses and feels these dresses are beautiful works of art from the heart.

Although Alan does not follow any official church denomination, he still talks to God every morning and evening. He views Jesus, our Creator, and the Great Spirit as guides and comforts.

About the moderator

Michael Redhead Champagne

Michael Redhead Champagne inspires every time he speaks to an audience or brings his pen to the page. An Ininew public speaker, writer, community advocate and on‐screen personality, his storytelling connects communities across North America and around the world. Michael’s commitment to action and solutions comes from his experiences growing up in Winnipeg’s North End, his identity as a member of Shamattawa First Nation and his connection to the child welfare system. He aims to walk his talk, revolutionize harmful systems and ensure those with lived experience design, deliver and evaluate any initiative that affects them.

Woven through his work, you’ll find the teaching of mino bimadisiwin, an Ininew phrase that roughly translated means "the good life." This teaching and many others are reflected as he engages audiences with laughter and optimism while encouraging people to build bridges to address our most urgent challenges. His continued exploration and celebration of Indigenous cultures affirm how these philosophies have nurtured generations past and hold solutions for contemporary social issues. Michael believes that from sustainability to wellness to governance, Indigenous knowledge will save the world.

His message is one of honouring relationships, appreciating gifts and taking action. Michael’s work educates and inspires, leaving people ready to move the necessary mountains to help themselves and their communities. He is regularly sought after by the news media, social media content creators and podcasts for his inspiring, action‐oriented take on the topics affecting youth and families. Featured on multiple TEDx Talks, APTN’s Michif Country and First Contact, Michael is also developing a number of storytelling projects to expand his hosting experience. His first children’s book, We Need Everyone, premiered with High Water Press in September 2022.

Michael’s work on‐stage, on‐screen, on the page and in the community continue to build towards a revolution rooted in love, equity and justice.