This podcast was recorded on the ancestral lands on Treaty One territory, the traditional territory of the Anishnawbe, Cree, Oji Cree, Dakota, and the Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis nation.
This is Humans, On Rights. A podcast advocating for the education of human rights.
Here's your host Stuart Murray.
When you go to my guests website on his instagram page it says speaker author, host community organizer, advocate for Children, youth and families.
Everyone has a gift My guest today, Michael Redhead Champagne believes that indigenous knowledge will save the world when he refers to sharing caring and kindness.
Those aren't words for Michael, those are ways of living, there's ways of life which we're going to talk about and explore and I would just have to say that when you go on to Michael Redhead Champagne's website, it is a phenomenal place to spend some time and one of the things that you can explore is some of his awards Acknowledgments adventures.
They are vast.
I just want to highlight a few just to get the listeners aware of how fortunate we are to have this incredible person in our midst.
Michael has been recognized by the Governor General of Canada for outstanding indigenous leadership.
He's been recognized by the Canadian red Cross as a humanitarian of the year and Time magazine basically looked to Michael Redhead Champagne as the next generation leader.
Now that's all incredible.
But I think meet me at the Bell Tower is something that is recognized by people abroad, not only in this community as something that was created by Michael and friends.
Michael Redhead Champagne.
Welcome to humans own rights.
Thank you so much for having me today and thank you for such a warm introduction and I'm pumped to be here.
And what's up to all of our listeners?
Yeah, I hear you man.
So let's explore a little bit about your history, your background, your name, how you came to be the kind of person that you are.
I know that you are a sham Ottawa first nation, but tell us a little bit about how you developed your name, your culture.
And just let's let's get into that before we start talking about some of the other issues that we're gonna get into.
Certainly thank you so much for the opportunity.
So my name is Michael Redhead Champagne and it's a fun name, right?
Everyone knows a million Michael's.
So uh, there any Michael's listening.
There's a rule we have with Michael's where every time we meet another Michael we have to say great name.
So to all the Michaels listening, great name.
But the names that I carry with me, Redhead and Champagne actually tell my family's story.
And I think that this is something that is very common for all of us, but it's something that's quite prominent with indigenous communities.
And so for myself, the names that I carry with me represent my families and I say families plural.
I was actually born.
And like all most people from Shimada, I have a beautiful mother who speaks in a new language and she unfortunately like too many first nations folks was in indian residential schools.
And so I carry my mother and her experiences.
I carry all of my, my birth brother and sisters with me.
Um I carry the community of shame Ottawa with me um, all in the name of Redhead and I also just try to take care of the region in Northern Manitoba as best as I can.
A lot of my work is in trying to create hope, trying to prevent bad stuff from happening.
I'm trying to support mental health and so it's important for me to when I say red Head to try to represent Northern Manitoba in a good way and always remember where I came from.
And even though I'm born and raised and live in Winnipeg to always strengthen and honor the connection that I have to the north.
And even right now I know we're having this conversation right now.
I'm on Treaty one territory but our power comes from a lot of the hydro situations and the dams in Northern Manitoba Treaty five area where some Ottawa is located.
And so it's important to acknowledge that all that the latin gives us and so the Redhead side, you know like there's a lot there and I really want to make sure that I'm honoring my community and my and my family but the Champagne, let's have some Champagne Stuart Champagnes are a beautiful family from the north end of Winnipeg and they actually adopted me.
And so being adopted by a family as generous and giving as the Champagne's um, was such a gift.
I tell people I won the child and family services lottery because I know a lot of folks, too many kids in Manitoba are involved in child welfare, nearly 10,000 and it's 2022.
And I know that for the too many of those Children, they have difficult and traumatizing experiences.
I am so lucky and so grateful that I landed with the Champagne's because they were emergency foster placements for kids like me for many years, they cared for like 300 plus Children and out of those kids, they only adopted too.
And so I feel so honored to be one of those two.
And so when I say I want the CFS lottery, I'm not kidding.
And so being raised up by the Champagnes and now taking their name, you know, getting adopted, going from Michael Redhead to being Michael Redhead.
I really now have that gift that the Champagne's gave me of understanding that it is all of our responsibility to take care of all of the Children all of the time.
I carry that with me in the work that I do now because of the Champagnes.
And so um, I do tons of work now around child welfare and supporting parents that are trying to reunify or young people that are aging out of child welfare and you know, what's the example of being raised in environments like families like the Champagnes and neighborhoods like the North End where we have such a strong sense of spirit and a strong sense of community that has made me the person that I am today.
Yeah, Michael Redhead, Champagne, thanks for sharing that.
So, Michael, when you were in from Ottawa, did you have brothers and sisters that also were maybe taken into child and family service?
And if so, are you able to reconnect with them?
All of my mother's Children were in child and family services unfortunately from some Ottawa and so all of us have the story of being disconnected unfortunately.
Um some of the Children were adopted, but some just bounced around in the system as an adult.
I am reconnecting with some of my sisters.
I don't have the relationship with all of my siblings yet.
I hope to in the future.
But yeah, that reconnecting processes is ongoing now as an adult.
Um, and so I'm really excited and happy about that.
But one connection that is not going to be able to happen is that re connection with my birth mother because she passed away last summer and that's really frustrating because that's an unresolved relationship, you know, I'm never gonna have that opportunity again.
And so I share that because if there are any folks that are listening right now that are impacted or affected by intergenerational trauma that could be residential schools, that could be child welfare, that could be 60 scoop, could be the justice system, homelessness, what have you, if you've been affected by any intergenerational family separation, I want to encourage you to do what you can to rebuild those relationships and bring healing into that relationship because we don't got a lot of time.
Our knowledge keepers and our parents and grandparents and aunties and uncles time is not on our side.
And as indigenous people, we are a young population, but our knowledge keepers and our family members that have these stories and experiences are leaving us too soon.
And so I just want to encourage folks, if you're able, once you do your healing to please reach out and try to rebuild those connections with your family before it's too late.
I don't want to be so so ominous about it, but it's important, it's, it is very important, it's extremely important.
You know, Michael, one of the things that I'm interested to find out is how did you become a leader?
I mean as a young child in, in going up and going to school, I mean any memories there, something sticks out about an issue that you felt that you know, I need to step in front of this, I need to become a leader, How did you develop that skill?
I feel like it was growing up in the north end of Winnipeg interacting with folks that were not from the North End of Winnipeg and just seeing the general attitude that people have about this place that I come from.
So when I say the North End of Winnipeg, I'm curious for our listeners what images or thoughts come to your mind because when I say the north end of Winnipeg, images of families laughing and eating food together come to my mind.
When I say the North end of Winnipeg, I imagine picnic tables.
I imagine street parties.
When I say the North end of Winnipeg, I imagine inside jokes, I imagine sarcasm.
I imagine directness, you know when I say the North End, those are the things that I think of and feel, but I can't ignore that we when I say the North End, I know that people have had negative experiences here.
I know we're a community that's struggling with poverty.
I know that we're a community reeling from the impacts of inter generational family separation.
I know that we have a lot of violence and so I'm not sticking my head in the sand and ignoring all the bad things that are happening in my community, but I'm making a deliberate choice to see the strengths and the gifts and the good things in my community burst.
That's the North End that I see, and that's the North End that I wish everybody could have an opportunity to experience well, and I mean it it is through conversations that you have in the leadership and the time that you spend advocating for families and for Children that this is going to happen.
I mean I believe that and it comes back to that statement that you made that indigenous knowledge will save the world.
I mean that's really what you're you're starting to impart.
I'm gonna ask you specifically about that question there.
That comment that you made Michael.
But I just want to just come back a little bit to your your high school year.
Was there time in your high school growing up that you faced, you know, systemic racism that did you know it at the time if you did or is it something that's come back later?
You're sort of rethinking it because I always share that because I grew up and punish eyes Saskatchewan and I was surrounded by four reserves.
So Gordon Reserve was one of them and Mascalzone was another and they're now starting to find these graves.
And you know, Michael, I can just tell you I saw it.
But I never saw a thing.
I mean I lived it but I never saw a thing.
So you know when I think back of some of my memories what it was like growing up in that community and the heartbreak that I missed that.
I didn't see share your your experiences.
Well I think that for myself like and and even just to answer the becoming a leader question again.
It's seeing all those experiences and feeling like people misunderstand me and my family and my loved ones in my community.
And so if there's so much misunderstanding something has to be cleared up.
And so somebody has got to say something and again to our listeners, if you've ever said somebody's got to do or say something, I got some news for you, you're the somebody, I think that that is something that really came through to me in my high school years, especially at ST john's high school.
And so being able to organize and do student led stuff really helped me understand the importance of centering lived experience.
So anything I do in the community now, the, if I'm doing something for youth, aging out of care, it's youth aging out of care at the center have the most power most influence.
Um, if I'm doing something for families, reunifying those parents will have the most power, the most influence if I'm doing something for indigenous people, indigenous people will have the most power and influence.
And so, um, growing up, I don't think I saw the racism either even though it was very much there and very much around me and here's an interesting thing about my high school experience is that I was the Canada day guy at my school, I was the Canada day guy who would take off my shirt and paint my whole body and my face and wearing the cat in the hat Canada thing and all the flags and handing out tattoos and stickers to everybody.
Like that was me.
I was the Canada a guy.
And it wasn't until I left high school that I came to understand the dark and horrifying relationship that Canada and my personal family, the redheads, shame Ottawa creep, people, first nations people, indigenous kids.
I didn't realize until after leaving high school, all of those systems of family separation that were orchestrated by my beloved Canada that harmed my family so directly and so after leaving high school, I was a little confused Michael and I really had to get over this perception that I had that Canada was like the greatest country in the whole world.
And I will say that I think when I look globally Canada is doing a pretty good job globally, I will say that, but that doesn't forgive any of the bad things that have happened in our history and that doesn't mean we can't do better.
And so what I'm really excited about now is that it feels like folks in Canada especially around conversations as it pertains to human rights and in Winnipeg, we got a whole museum to it, folks are rising up to meet the moment.
People are rising up to me at the moment and have a conversation about addressing racism about addressing things like child welfare, about meaningful things to address homelessness.
And so for me becoming a leader growing up in the north end coming from these systems and coming up against challenges that I didn't recognize at the time that now I realize have intergenerational consequences has motivated me, my feet are planted.
I'm not going nowhere and I will do everything in my power to care share and be kind in the face of a world that wants to destroy and tear down and be destructive all the time.
I know that folks are hurting and people need to get that hurting out.
It's like letting out the poison, right?
But you can't only let out the poison at some point, you have to welcome the medicine and what I want to encourage folks to do is identify the poison, get it out in a safe way.
But make sure you take your medicine.
Thank you, Dr Michael.
Just on on that.
I mean again, you know when you and I chatted about coming on to do this human zone right podcast, I really wanted to get a perspective from you about how you see july one, You started to share a bit of it.
I didn't realize that you know, in high school you were the candidate guy.
I mean this is even more, you know, sort of interesting that you're you're going to be part of this conversation with me.
But send a message to people about how they should look at July one as a day.
What would you recommend?
Well, I would recommend that people look at July one as an opportunity to examine the truth.
And I think the truth is Canada has done great things.
We can celebrate them.
But another part of the truth, you can't ignore all of it.
You can't ignore the bad parts.
And so the other truth is as I shared in my introduction and in some of the work I do, Canada also has some accountability and responsibilities to the bad things that have happened.
And I think that for us as Canadians, we have to think about benefit.
That's the word I always go back to from a land perspective and from a wellness perspective.
So Canada is a land mass.
And if you live in Canada and you are safe and you are alive and you are fed and you are housed.
I want you to consider and appreciate the benefit that you received from the land.
And back to this concept of indigenous knowledge will save the world.
Why indigenous people talk about land so much.
Indigenous people talk about land so much and I can share actually something really beautiful from my language.
In a new has a beautiful word, english folks call my language swampy cree probably know that so swampy Cree is what english people call it in our language.
We're in the new in our language, we have a word that's what go to win and what what means its kinship and again, I feel like I've already explained the teaching of this teaching while I was talking but it's deeper than just humans being related to their family as humans related to all humans.
And we must treat each other as such.
It's like the law of kinship.
Um It means we're related to the animals.
It means we're related to the land, it means we're related to the water, means were related to the sky.
It means we're related to the stars.
And so if we're related to all of these things then we better act like it.
And so if one of your relatives helps you with something, I know it's everybody's natural instinct to want to help that person back.
If the land was your relatives and indigenous people truly believe that this is.
So do they help you?
Do they give you things if they do, maybe you should help them?
Maybe you should give them things.
And so let's care for the land in the way that the land is caring for us.
Mother nature and mother earth is already showing us how to care for one another right?
Like the reason there are seasons and cycles is because mother nature knows how to produce enough and not take it all you know overtake and then you get more next year bonus but you get bonus points for restraint.
And so indigenous knowledge again that the concept of a family of being related and also indigenous connections to the natural world, like seasons can provide such teachings.
I think for us in a time of wanting justice and wanting human rights for all can help us actually achieve it.
Um, so you know what I really appreciate in your conversation, Michael is that you're looking at where we can celebrate and acknowledge that there is some good things.
I mean, I think sometimes when people talk about change or acknowledgement or you know, just this notion about colonization or systemic racism, you know, for some, they look at those simply as words as opposed to actions of what does that mean?
What does that look like?
And I think that the conversation that's happening in Winnipeg is around July one and it seems that like so many of these conversations, Michael and I know you live in a very fast world around social media and you're very active that way.
I I think sometimes the challenge with that is that, you know, my sense of where people are upset about some of the changes they're talking about Canada Day july one here in Winnipeg is that somehow they've canceled fireworks.
And so therefore there's an issue around indigenous peoples and fireworks.
And that is just an unfortunate misguided conversation.
It has been frustrating.
I know a lot of people have been reacting to the news, right of the forks changing Canada Day to a new day and you know, shifting it to daytime stuff.
No evening stuff, you know, fireworks.
But I wish that people would keep reading, I wish you would keep reading the rationale beyond those simple details because they explain that it is out of respect for what's happening within our country right now.
We have to have respect.
And I think it's appropriate for us as a country to take a pause sometimes in the middle of something that's very serious.
And to me, I'm a very biased opinion on this one.
But every time there are announcements of new anomalies being discovered in different communities.
I can't help but think about my mother being in those schools.
I can't help about, you know, knowing the stories of many in my family, about the abuse that they've taken from those places.
And so it's so triggering and damaging to my mental health as an indigenous person who's intergenerational inter generationally affected every single time.
And I know that people like fireworks and I know that people like Canada Day, I used to be one of them, I promise you, but time and place my friends, maybe it's not the time and maybe the Forks isn't the most appropriate place.
And I will say that because indigenous people have been gathering at the Forks since long before Winnipeg was here.
And if the Forks is moving in a direction of respecting indigenous sovereignty and indigenous perspectives, then I think that's the correct direction, especially considering that the Forks is right next door to the Museum of Human Rights.
If the Forks in the Museum of Human Rights can't approach Canada Day in a constructive way that honestly addresses the truths that we're confronting in our country right now, who can?
And so I want to give my kudos to the Forks.
I think that they are making the right choice.
I think they are doing the right thing.
This doesn't have to be forever.
This is for now, let's be present.
Let's be present in the moment right now and acknowledge that, you know, there's a lot of hurting people and maybe this is an opportunity for non indigenous folks to participate as relatives in building a future that we can all be proud of and happy to celebrate next year, Michael.
I appreciate that.
And we'll have to see what ultimately comes.
I mean, I hope again that it's coming together as you use the term relatives.
That's your term.
I love that term because it talks about how we're all connected.
When you look at a couple of other days that I'd love to get your sort of thoughts on, I mean, we just had National Indigenous Peoples Day, june 21st and we're coming up to in september 30th, we've got national truth and reconciliation day.
So two very significant additional days, let's just back up to june 21st two National Indigenous Peoples Day, If you were to take a blank piece of paper and sort of say, I'm gonna write a script.
I mean you are a writer, you're an author.
We're gonna talk about your book at some point.
But you know, if you wanted to write a script, what would that script?
Say for National Indigenous Peoples Day in terms of what would that narrative be?
I feel like I may already have a script as you're talking.
I'm like, oh I have like things I often will say because specifically for a National Indigenous Peoples Day, there's a few things that folks need to know.
The Declaration of National Indigenous Peoples Day is a recommendation that came from the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.
If you don't know what the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples is, I want you to write that down.
I want you to google it and I want you to take a look at the 200 plus recommendations that were in there that recommended how indigenous people and Canada could live together.
Alright, that's from the nineties.
So when it started, it was called aboriginal solidarity day.
And what has happened over the years, it's now changed to National Indigenous Peoples Day, but you'll notice the word solidarity is glaringly absent.
Folks look at National Indigenous Peoples Day as a celebration as they rightfully should.
But one thing that I think folks need to know and this is why learning and reading history and documents like our cap are so important is we cannot forget the solidarity that is essential to that day.
What are we really celebrating?
We should be celebrating the solidarity that non indigenous folks have done the other 364 days.
So that on national indigenous peoples days we get to hang out together and say, Wow look what we all did together this year and now all of us are living a good life because of the actions that we've taken.
And so for me, national Indigenous peoples day is important for us to be celebrating.
But I also think we can't forget the solidarity.
And so what that means in practice is that if you're an indigenous person on National Indigenous Peoples Day, I want you to put your feet up.
I want you to relax.
I want you to take a break.
I want to go get a massage.
I want you to have a bubble bath, I want you to play video games.
I want you to relax.
I want you to do self care and take care of yourself and treat yourself like the valuable relative deserving of care, support kindness and awesomeness that you are for non indigenous folks.
What I would like is for you to do what you can in your circle of influence, maybe that's a workplace, maybe that's a school, Maybe that's a podcast but in your circle of influence.
What I want you to do is to do something to improve the livelihood or support indigenous peoples in that space.
So if you've got a workplace for example, and you're a boss, well, maybe indigenous people are allowed to take indigenous peoples day off.
I know you got to talk to the union and hr and there's paperwork and all these things you've got to do.
Well, guess what?
I would hope that you would be willing to do that because that is your end of the deal.
From reconciliation perspective.
Yeah, I want to just pivot if I could Michael with you to talk about National Truth and reconciliation day, september 30th.
I know, kind of it's known as Orange shirt Day and I want to approach it from this perspective, Michael is a lot of times when we acknowledge a country acknowledged days, for example, november the 11th Remembrance day, it really is bothersome to me when people refer to it as a holiday.
Oh yeah, I know it's a holiday, it's like, I don't know about that.
Like, holidays says to me, pack up the kids were going to a beach, we're going to go set up a tent somewhere.
Now, some people may do that, and in fairness, the reason they can do that on that day is that people gave up their lives so that we could do that.
But when you look at something as important as national Truth and reconciliation day, I think there's people that are looking and there may be, I'll just use the term nervous, I'm not sure if it's the right term, Michael, but maybe nervous to say how do I get involved as a non indigenous person?
How can I make a difference?
What would that look like?
I would imagine if my answer would be similar to how I would imagine approaching national indigenous peoples day, right?
For folks that are affected by orange shirt day personally like myself or people that are from residential school, 60 school child welfare, I think those folks should try to really take the day off as a real holiday.
Like Holy Mac like don't work.
I know I did a bunch of work last time on the national Day of truth and reconciliation, but next time it comes around, I'm gonna try to take the whole day off and I'm doing that because I want to lead by example, for other indigenous people to say it's important for us to rest, relax and take care of ourselves.
But for non indigenous folks, again, what I would say is that's a time where non indigenous people can rely on these documents that indigenous people have poured their hearts souls and experiences and pain and hurt and ideas and love into the TRC calls to action the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls Cause for justice.
The recommendations I mentioned earlier from the Royal Commission on aboriginal peoples, Here's another one to write down if people are scribbling furiously.
It's the aboriginal justice inquiry.
Alright from Manitoba.
Alright, that was where justice Murray.
Sinclair recommended the creation of the truth and reconciliation commission.
And so um indigenous people had to relive all of their traumas to create these documents and what can non indigenous people do.
They can respect the pain and the hurt and the stories that we all have to relive in creating these documents and you can go to those documents for direction because when people come and ask me, Michael, what do I do about reconciliation?
I say, have you read these documents and they're like, no.
And I'm like, I don't really want to talk to you anymore.
And I'm not saying that to be dismissive.
I'm not trying to not meet people where they're at because that's important value for me.
But it's hard for me to believe that somebody is going to do the work necessary for reconciliation if they can't even be bothered to read these documents in their entirety.
And there are summaries available for all of them.
So, I mean, there's no excuse.
Yeah, no I and you're absolutely right.
And I think that I had a couple of opportunities to when I was the President Ceo of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights um dr Wilton, Lady Child or Willy as we call them of course, was one of the commissioners.
And as you say, Murray Sinclair was was the head of the of the truth and reconciliation commission.
So was fortunate to have lots of conversation with them and you know, the part of it is Michael, I think is the education piece to say that once the work is done in other words, all of the hearings and the trauma that the victims went through and then to see the report being published.
I think to your point that so many people sort of say, well, you know, here's the book, I guess it's kind of done, you know, we've all the work is done and I think one of the challenges that we have as non indigenous peoples is to really say when does the work start?
I mean, you know, like and what is the work?
You know, because people always talk about that and part of it is I think you and I had this conversation just before we hit record is that when there is work around things like july 1st and people don't like what they're hearing rather than trying to understand where the work might come from, to be part of this whole issue that we are relatives, it's to sort of dismiss it and move away and just say, I, you know, I throw up my hands, I don't I don't understand it, you know what I call that actually, I'm glad you just described that because I call that reconciliation paralysis and it's a real thing that people get educators tend to get this quite a bit right because people are afraid to do the wrong thing and I can understand why people would be afraid to do the wrong thing.
But if you are an educator or somebody that wants to take action, here's what I can say to you.
If you're afraid me too.
If you think you're gonna say the wrong thing, I am afraid of that every day.
If you're afraid you're going to do the wrong thing, I'm afraid of that every day.
But I can choose to try my best with the knowledge that I have and the support that I have and make a mistake or I could do nothing.
Guess which one I want you to do.
Yeah, well, you lead by example on that one, Michael.
So that's right.
And so I think that's all it is.
Like I don't I just don't want people to be afraid of these documents.
Like So here's something that will help people in advance.
If you ever think you're gonna see Michael in the future, perhaps come across the wild, Michael.
Alright, Should that happen, I may ask you this question, what missing and murdered indigenous women call for justice are you working on?
And I want you to tell me the number and I want you to tell me what that number says and I want you to tell me what you've done about that.
I will forgive you if instead you're saying, well, I'm working on this truth and reconciliation commission called to action.
That also that's fine, right?
But I just think it's important for people to be able to say I'm working on this call again.
I will lead by example ask me Michael which call to actions?
Are you working on Michael?
Which call to actions?
Are you working on?
I'm glad you asked.
I'm working on T.
Call to Action number one which says we have to reduce the number of indigenous Children in care.
And as part of that I've worked with parents that are reunifying to bring their Children home.
I work with young people that are aging out of care so that they can reconnect to family supports or healthy supports.
And I work within many different systems government media and otherwise to try to ensure that Children have a voice, families are respected and parents rates are parents have rights.
So those are the things that I'm doing right now on a daily basis.
To try to live up to T.
Call to action number one that's just one there's 93 other calls to action and I actually could probably go through each single one and explain how my actions reflect that.
And if I can do that for 94 calls to action I think it's fair for non indigenous people to be able to do that for one.
Why should I have to do it 94 times 200 plus times for these other reports and non indigenous people don't do it any times.
Yeah no fair comment.
I mean, and I just want to talk about one of the calls to action, which I honestly was not sure where this was going to go.
But was the apology from the Pope.
And how do you feel about that process, Michael?
And again, the notion about I believe he's coming.
You know, somebody said he might be not well, but let's assume that he is coming.
As he did say, he was gonna come and visit three communities.
Let's just talk about when after that has happened.
And the Pope goes back to the Vatican.
What do you see the day after that looking like That?
one is a struggle for me.
That one I struggle with only because I have my own opinions about how useful a pope apology would be.
However, what I will say is that because survivors have identified that this is something that is important to them.
I will fight for it until it happens.
And so for myself personally, the best apology has changed behavior.
That has always been my response when Stephen harper apologized.
When we get any other apologies.
Anytime the best apology has changed behavior, you're going to apologize for something.
You best not continue doing that thing.
The best apology has changed behavior.
And I think that's my reaction to uh, everyone's apology.
Yeah, no fair comment appreciate that you have just a gift.
You know of when you speak or when you write or when you're in the midst of people that you have an energy about you, that people are attracted to you.
And I think they're attracted to you because they see somebody who believes in hope and somebody who really demonstrates the opportunity and that is a skill.
I mean, that's why Time magazine and all these other awards.
If you're gonna go to your website, you can see all these recognitions that you have earned.
And I guess my question to you, Michael would be, how do you stay grounded knowing that a lot of people look at you as you know, I just want to get to Michael because he can give me an answer, he can help me.
He can shape some of the challenges I'm having.
I mean that's some pretty heavy stuff.
So how do you stay grounded?
I'm gonna share something that I hope for anyone that's in a position of leadership, You have to walk around the world, you have to behave in such a way as if all of your grandmothers and grandfathers are in the room with you and think about that for a second.
You know, your grandparents wouldn't want you to go out there in the world and act a fool, but you also know that your grandparents would never want you to be disrespected.
And so I think about having cucumbers and mushrooms and aunties and uncles, my my ancestors and my relatives, I imagine that they are in the room with me, but they're just here in spirit.
They're not hearing body, I'm the only body in the room and if I'm the only body in the room, somebody better say something.
I got you, I got you.
So I just want people to think about it from that perspective.
What would you do if your grandma was in the room and she was watching you be spoken to in a particular way?
What would grandma want you to do?
She would want you to speak up for yourself.
She would want you to speak up for her, right?
Because sometimes in our interactions when we're advocating in community organizing and human rights um and systems, sometimes I'm not the one that's being offended by the person across the table.
Sometimes they're disrespecting my grandmother, sometimes they're disrespecting my home community and that's why I'm so grateful for the way that you've conducted this interview because we began talking about my name's and who I carry with me everywhere I go.
And I got a bunch of red head, a bunch of Champagnes in the room with me, every single place I go.
And I think that that's what guides me someday.
I want to be a good grandparent.
So let me let me talk a little bit about a sunday and then I want to come back and I want to sort of end our podcast talking about your book because that's really something I think is very special.
If you looked at a sunday, I mean you time magazine looked at Michael redhead champagne and said, here is an indigenous man who clearly is the next generation leader.
So would you ever consider getting involved in politics?
I'm already involved in politics.
I've been asked that question from elected officials with little nudges being like implying, when are you running?
And that was my question.
So I apologize.
I didn't quite get to the number, but but that was my question.
Well, and so what I always say to them is why do I need to run?
Aren't we talking right now?
Aren't you already elected?
What do I need to run for?
If you're already elected, why don't you do it?
And so all of the recommendations that I have for municipal, provincial, federal, and even internationally are all public recommendations.
They're all things that anybody can find online.
And there are things that any politician can use to help guide their decision in a good way.
I would much rather be an example of a good citizen who engages in different levels of politics to support my family and community so that other citizens do the same.
I'm not that interested in being a leader of politicians because I'm just not interested in that.
But what I'd rather do is say if I can do this much leadership and this much community stuff as an individual citizen.
So can you and imagine if you do a bunch of stuff in your community and I do a bunch of stuff in my community and then we put our organizing and ideas and energy and spirit together, what the heck could we accomplish?
And it's gonna be something that transcends just one level of government.
And I think that's the reason why I'm not that interested in running because I don't want to work as a city councilor or mayor because then I got to do all the city stuff and I have a very multi governmental inter departmental, many jurisdiction, many sectors working together, vision of how we can all live a good life.
And that includes the government.
But it also includes labor unions.
It also includes the not for profit sector and it also includes the for profit business sector.
So my perspective of change is that we have to include government, labor business and nonprofit if we're going to have any type of effect.
And so I can't necessarily be married to any one of those sectors because I need to be everywhere in the community, right?
And you are and you are everywhere.
So I think somebody on this podcast, certainly not me turned 35 not too long ago.
And so if you were to, and I don't know Michael, I'm just gonna ask you, if you see yourself at 45 or if you see yourself getting towards 50, what does Michael Redhead, champagne hope to have accomplished by that time.
Well, by the time I'm 45, I'm hoping that I have a couple of series of children's books under my but I really want to continue writing children's books.
But I'm also I'm a system changer and I love policy and so I want to write a textbook on how to engage young people and systems by that.
Just let me catch on.
So systems are you you're talking about systems that have are impacted by community development.
I'm just talking about systems in general because I think that like for example if we teach people about system structures, they can apply it in work school life, community activism, whatever it may be.
So giving someone the skill of like if the worker doesn't help you talk to the supervisor, the supervisor doesn't help you talk to the manager.
Manager doesn't help you, you talk to the director.
Directors help you, you know, and up up up chain of command kind of stuff and also documentation kind of stuff.
And also just overall process following all of the different systems specific stuff.
You gotta do stuff.
And so I think for me by providing somebody with system literacy, they can then manage if they ever find themselves in a difficult spot where there are many systems all at once converging upon making their life hard.
I mean, you know, I can't wait for that to come out.
I do know that what is coming out and we can talk very briefly about is a book that you have written called We need everyone tell us about the reason behind the book and what the book is about.
We need everyone.
It is a love letter to the Children of the world and it's a love letter to the Children of the world because it does two things.
The first thing it does is it provides instructions about how anybody can find their gift.
So every single person listening to this podcast, every kid in your life has an ability, skill, talent that the world desperately needs and that child deserves opportunity for the gift that they have, which right now when you're a kid, it's like a seed, the seed needs to be watered and that's what we do as adults.
We water that seed we support and nourish and grow that child's gift and ability.
And so first part talks about how everyone can find their gift.
And then the second part is a celebration of all of the many gifts that celebrates artists.
It celebrates athletes, it celebrates chefs, it celebrates good friends, It celebrates Storytellers.
So it talks about many different gifts that we have.
And I hope that by giving those examples afterwards, kids and families will see themselves reflected in the pages of the book to say, hey, that's me and the other thing I just have to say is that I'm honored to work with tiff Bartell, who is the illustrator, She really brought the Michael energy to life in the book.
And also, uh another last shout out, I'll give is to my cat, Sushi who's also in the book because you know, you got to include cats.
So my cat, his name is Sushi, he's in the book.
He has a gift too.
But I won't spoil what it is, it's in the book, you know.
Okay, so, so that's a great, that's a great thing.
Now, Michael, before we go, I am going to try one more time to say what you are so passionate about, which is the good life.
And I want to say that I'm gonna just, you're gonna give me two tries at this.
So mean Obinna disease win.
Okay, you're kind of doing okay, Go, go give you go and let me come back to you.
So give me one more.
You you say it, let me try me win.
Okay, two thumbs up for those that are counting at home.
So the good Life, Michael Redhead Champagne, you are a celebration.
You're a walking celebration.
And I wish that this was a series of conversations with you because there is so much ground to cover with you.
You have been nothing but generous with your time.
Thank you so much for finding the opportunity to be on this podcast.
Humans on rights.
I'm gonna leave the last word to you, Michael Redhead Champagne.
And that is when you meet somebody for the very first time and they say, what do you do?
What do you tell them?
I tell people that I'm a helper and a storyteller.
And on that basis I couldn't finish any better.
Michael Redhead Champagne.
Thank you so much for your time.
Thank you so much Stuart and props to all the listeners.
If you made it this far, really appreciate you and look forward to all the actions that we are going to take together to create.
Minnow, promotes win and to ensure that we got human rights for everybody.
Humans on Rights is recorded and hosted by Stuart, Murray.
Social media marketing, by the creative team at full current in Winnipeg.
Thanks also to trick seem a bit you in music by Doug Edmond.
Go to human rights hub dot C a produced and distributed by the Sound off media company.
Hi, I'm Matt Kendell host of the sound off podcast, the podcast about broadcast every week.
Since 2016, we've been bringing on broadcast leaders to talk about their experiences and radio what they've seen and where they believe it is all going.
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