The Red Dress Saga continued


I had not been aware that the commission for the inquiry onMissing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls had chosen a lapel pin of a red dress as their logo. Imagine my surprise when my nephew sent me this photo with an explanation in his e-mail.

December 18, 2018

Aunt Jeanine,

Today, Grand Chief Settee of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) (44 northern communities) came into the office for a meeting.  He was wearing a Red Dress lapel pin.  I said, “we have one of those!” and showed him your work.  I explained that it came to us from an artist in Ottawa who wanted to honour the MMIWG.  He was very impressed and agreed to take a picture with your work so I could send it to you.


 Some time before that he had sent me an update on the fate of my painting. Here it is:

December 16, 2018 

Good Morning Aunt Jeanine,

I hope this e-mail finds you well.  I just wanted to give you a quick update on your gift to the region.  As you may recall, “Lingering Spirit” is hanging in the main boardroom for the regional office.  This is a large room that fits roughly 40 people and has a table shaped like the bottom of a York boat – a very important part of Manitoba history.

Most of all the high level meetings between the Chiefs/Councils and the sr. Management for the region happen in this room.  The work is located by the door opposite from the windows, which is where the Chiefs usually sit.  They see the work the entire time they are there.  Many of the Chiefs have commented on it as it is a new and interesting piece in the room.  I have told them the story of the work and how it comes to us from Ontario.

I may not have told you this but I pointed out your work to our Minister – Jane Philpott when she was visiting in October.  She was very impressed and interested in the fact that the “artist” is from Ottawa!

Early in the new year, there will be a meeting with the Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, I am hoping to get a picture of him with your work.  I’ll let you know if it happens and send you the picture.  Thank you once again for your wonderful gift.

Bye for now.

MJB (John Barnett)