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THE RED DRESS EXHIBIT SEPTEMBER 10-11: RAISING AWARENESS OF THE CRIMES AGAINST INDIGENOUS WOMEN AND GIRLS, TWO-SPIRIT PEOPLE

THE RED DRESS EXHIBIT SEPTEMBER 10-11: RAISING AWARENESS OF THE CRIMES AGAINST INDIGENOUS WOMEN AND GIRLS, TWO-SPIRIT PEOPLE

Image: Painting by Jill Lunn

The Red Dress Exhibit is an immersive and poignant experience raising awareness of the horrific, systemic and racist crimes against Indigenous women and girls, Two-Spirit people (MMIWG2S) the dresses tell untold stories of victims whose voices were silenced, coming to St. Catharines September 10-11 as part of the Celebration of Nations.

On September 10-11, 2022 Niagara’s Celebration of Nations will include The Red Dress Exhibit, a Kakekalanicks initiative. “The exhibit is intended to increase awareness of the epidemic of the on-going horrific, systemic, racist crimes targeting Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit people.  It is to honor the lost lives of the victims, to teach and to give space for Indigenous voices. I created this exhibit is to inspire a new cross-cultural generation based on inclusivity, compassion and love and to collectively offer the missing and murdered Indigenous Women, girls and Two-Spirit people our love while creating a safe, nurturing and welcoming environment for Indigenous people.” says the exhibit’s creator and Founder of Kakekalanicks, and Artistic Director of the Celebration of Nations, Michele-Elise Burnett. With Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people being victims of murder more than 10 times the national average, this exhibit is all about empathic LOVE and generational healing.

Kakekalanicks, an Indigenous consulting firm spearheaded by Michele-Elise Burnett, created this exhibit in collaboration with affected families, Elders, and local Indigenous youth. Violet Printup of Tuscaroa Nations, an Indigenous youth collaborator said, “Missing and murdered Indigenous women is an epidemic that has recently come to light, but Indigenous peoples have been facing this since the beginning of exploration. With the Red Dress Exhibit, I want to bring awareness to all people, but also now be able to help combat, as well as bring an end to MMIWG2S.”

BASED ON THE 13 GRANDMOTHER MOONS AND THE CYCLE OF WOMEN, THE RED DRESS EXHIBIT WILL FEATURE STORIES OF 13 MURDERED AND MISSING INDIGENOUS WOMEN AND GIRLS FROM INDIGENOUS FAMILIES AND  FRIENDS IN THE WESTERN NEW YORK AND NIAGARA WHOSE LOVED ONES FELL VICTIM TO THESE SENSELESS CRIMES. 

Each Red dress will be as unique and beautiful as the MMIWG2S  it represents and the ribbons, the beadwork, appliqués and paint on the dresses will be the keepers of their story. “As each member of an affected family and community participates in the creation of these beautiful memorial dresses, grief is pouring out and generational healing is happening. Every thread and fiber of the ribbons woven into the dress hold the untold story of the spirit the dress represents, essentially giving the spirit a voice, a voice that was unjustly and horrifically taken away from them” said Michele-Elise Burnett of Kakekalanicks, “The exhibit is designed to evoke visceral emotions of ripping loss and at the same time divine healing” 

This exhibit starts with the experience of hearing children laughing and playing in a field of wildflowers and participants then move through a symbolic door of a Residential School, the place directly linked to the horrific crimes of MMIWG2S, and the laughing fades away… Participants can then learn from a downloadable audio produced documentary style tour, interpretive signage and the exhibit’s opening day, September 10 from 12-2 PM, will feature an intimate version of ‘Her Moccasins Talk: The Red Dress’. A thought-provoking and moving talk from four of the Red Dress creators will share their story of their fallen sister and give them a voice that was stolen. Guests can then respond and interact in an intimate question and answer period. “As a family member and survivor of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and  two spirit people, I truly believe that by spreading awareness, together we can prevent more stolen sisters from happening” said one of the creators of a Red Dress in the exhibit, Vanessa Brousseau, Resilient Inuk. 

This exhibit  hopes to travel to 15 different communities around Turtle Island. Within each community a dress will be created by a family of a MMIWG2S to honor  their Sisters in Spirit that was ripped from them before their time. 

THE CELEBRATION OF NATIONS TAKES PLACE FROM SEPTEMBER 9-11 AT THE FIRSTONTARIO PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE. THE CELEBRATION OF NATIONS AIMS TO BUILD ON THE TWO ROW WAMPUM THAT PROMOTES ALL NATIONS WALK TOGETHER, IN PARALLEL, WITH RESPECT, COMPASSION, AND UNDERSTANDING TO CULTIVATE AN INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY FOR OUR SHARED COMMUNITY. 

In participation with the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre team, the city of St.Catharines, Michele-Elise of Kakekalanicks is the driving force behind many major, eye-opening and humbling experiences within the Celebration of Nations as a whole. With her oversite, incredible creativity and unique way of telling stories Michele-Elise is paramount to the organization of this incredible event giving Indigenous people a voice and place. Below you can find the Celebration of Nation Schedule at a glance however please visit www.celebrationofnations.ca for the full schedule.

We’re working hard to build back stronger and grow into the future. With support from the Government of Canada, FedDecOntario, delivered by Indigenous TO we’ve been able to bring this profound exhibit to St.Catharines in Ontario. 

The Red Dress exhibit will be on display in the Robertson Theatre of the FirstOntario Performing Art Centre on Saturday September 10 from 3-10 PM with a highlight event, ‘Her Moccasins Talk: The Red Dress’ from 12-2 PM. The exhibit will continue on Sunday, September 11 from 10AM-8PM. 

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CELEBRATION OF NATIONS  HIGHLIGHTS Please visit www.celebrationofnations.ca for the full schedule. 

  • Celebration of Nations Sacred Fire  | September 9-11from 6:00am – 7:30pm by Fred Bowering, Brian Kon
  • NFB Animated Shorts | September 10 from 9:00am – 11:00am
  • 13 Moon Hand Drum (Dewegun) Workshop | September 10 from 11:30am – 3:30pm by Jackie Labonte and Oliver Nobosin
  • Her Moccasins Talk: The Red Dress Exhibit | September 10 from 12:00pm – 2:00pm
  • Nokomis 215+ Moccasin Project Workshop| September 10 from 3:00pm – 6:00pm
  • The Red Dress Exhibit: If Only These Dresses Could Tell Their Story | September 10 from 3:00pm – 10:00pm and September 11 from 10AM – 8 PM
  • Buffy Sainte-Marie with Shawnee Kish and Strong Water Singers | September 10 from 7:30pm – 9:30pm
  • Talking Turtle Stories with Perry Ground | September 11 from 10:00am – 10:30am
  • Pottery Workshop with Brenda Hill | September 11 from 12:30pm – 2:30pm
  • Haudenosaunee Stories with Perry Ground | September 11 from 3:00pm – 3:45pm
  • ***Drums Across Canada*** another Kakekalanicks initiative  | September 11 from 3:30pm – 5:30pm

    • Returning to Celebration of Nations this year, Drums Across Canada is a live and virtual broadcast event that will unite drum circles from eight different performing arts venues paired with Indigenous drumming groups across the country in traditional call and response

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE KAKEKALANICKS.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MICHELE-ELISE BURNETT

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CELEBRATION OF NATIONS

ENGAGE WITH US 

Engage with us at kakekalanicks.org

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About The Author

MUSKRAT Magazine

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

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