Winnipeg, MB (February 21, 2020): The Manitoba Museum is thrilled to be collaborating with the Winnipeg International Writers Festival on a special writer-in-residence project funded by a generous donor. The Greyeyes Project is a six-month residency for Trevor Greyeyes, an award-winning Anishinaabe writer and long-time journalist.
The Manitoba Museum has been working with Greyeyes over the past year on an exhibition to be installed in its renewed Grassland Gallery, based on the oral history of his family and Treaty No. 1.
“We worked with Trevor to develop a story line for the Museum and in doing so, came to understand the richness and complexity of this story through first person accounts, documents, photographs, court proceedings, and land title transactions,” says Maureen Matthews, Curator of Cultural Anthropology at the Manitoba Museum.
Though the writer-in-residence project is funded through the Winnipeg International Writers Festival, Greyeyes will be “in residence” at the Manitoba Museum until summer, and again in the fall, researching, writing, and sharing his stories. “He has offered to share his historical research with us as he goes along. I think this is an excellent way to build on the community connections that have developed in the course of preparing our new exhibits,” adds Matthews.
Through family stories, Greyeyes has had a general idea about some of the more dramatic episodes in his own history. He knew his family had demonstrated a spirited resistance to the illegal surrender of St. Peters Reserve, the most egregious illegal land theft in the history of Manitoba treaties. Fifteen band members, including men from his family, went to jail in protest, as well as his grandfather, Norbert, the son of Alexander Greyeyes, “Insurrectionist Chief.”
This historical research has confirmed the Greyeyes family oral history and added many details, including evidence of the essential role of the Greyeyes women. One of them, the beautiful Sarah Greyeyes, died at 104 in a tent in the midst of an “illegal” occupation on her lost land.
“We believe that Manitoba’s sesquicentennial celebrations will benefit from a fuller accounting of the strength and resourcefulness of Indigenous families like the Greyeyes who actively and strategically charted their own path to reconcile their place within the province of Manitoba,” says Charlene Diehl, Director of the Winnipeg International Writers Festival. “I’m delighted to have connected with Maureen and found this imaginative and supportive way to facilitate both writing and museum work. It’s such important history and exactly the right time to be solidifying and articulating the complex narratives around the beginning of our province.”
While at the Museum, Greyeyes will also develop a publishing proposal for a work about his family and present at THIN AIR 2020 as part of Voices in the Circle, the Winnipeg International Writers Festival ongoing showcase of Indigenous writing.
Greyeyes is currently the publisher of First Nations Voice, a publication distributed every second month as part of the Winnipeg Free Press. He is a founding member of the Indigenous Writers Collective, and his award-winning fiction has been featured in several collections.
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For interviews or more information, contact:
Communications Specialist, Manitoba Museum
w: 204-988-0614 c: 204-228-2374