Thompson Rivers University

Much more than a fashion show

February 27, 2018

Laura GrizzlyPaws


The Traditional Fashion Show tomorrow evening (Wednesday, Feb. 28) focuses on reconciliation through art, the theme of this year’s Aboriginal Awareness Week.

Instead of in-your-face paparazzi, frenzied models and and costly sets, you will enjoy an ebullient evening more reflective of life on the land than of the madding crowd.

Grizzly Bear dancer Laura GrizzlyPaws of the St’át’imc (Lillooet) Nation begins the show, marking her ancestral footprints with a powerful dance that evokes the strength and spirit of the animal.

Real people then model the gorgeous, imaginative creations of local BC designers Jill Setah, Dinah Guichon and Ashley Michel.

Following the show, Chief Joe Alphonse of the Tl’etinqox (Alexis Creek) People speaks of what reconciliation means to the Tŝilhqot’in (Chilcotin) Nation.

The presenters

Laura Grizzlypaws is also an eloquent singer, songwriter, drummer, teacher and motivational speaker who advocates cultural survival through cultural practices and the use of Indigenous languages. Part of her vision, she states on her website, is to “dance around the world.”

Exciting new talent Jill Setah of First Nations Fashion has already represented Canadian Indigenous designs in an international show in Paris. Setah is from the Yuneŝit’in Government, one of the six communities that comprise the Tŝilhqot’in Nation in Williams Lake. The Traditional Fashion Show features ten of her creations.

Dinah Guichon of Tu Creations, who along with her husband (newly elected Chief Otis Guichon Sr) is part of Tŝideldel, another of the six Tŝilhqot’in communities. She stitches designs that are as unique as “ripples of water,” as she says on her website. Ten of her designs appear in the show.

Designer and jingle dancer Ashley Michel of 4 Generations Creations makes gorgeous regalia, art, beadwork, ribbon shirts and skirts, aprons and more “with the love and support of my family,” she says. The results of her recent ribbon-shirt making workshop at TRU are modelled in the show by their makers.

Chief Joe Alphonse wears two leadership hats. He is and has been the elected Chief of Tl’etinqox (the largest of the six Tŝilhoqot’in communities) for five consecutive two-year terms. Also, he is the Tribal Chief of Tŝilhqot’in National Government, having previously served as the executive director of that government.

In 2014, Chief Alphonse was instrumental in starting the process for the Tŝilhqot’in Nation to gain Aboriginal land and title rights through the Supreme Court of Canada (see Tŝilhqot’in Nation Declared Title Land). In summer 2017, under his leadership, the Tl’etinqox community chose to defy an evacuation order during the BC state of emergency during the massive wildfires—the first community to do so. Chief Alphonse will talk about the reasons for this choice—and about how the Tl’etinqox wildfire warriors had a firefighting plan in place and successfully averted any losses of lives or structures

See place and time details about the event here. Please contact Kristen Johnny for media or other questions.

Me7 wíktlmen (see you all) at what promises to be a dynamic and memorable event!

    Chief Joe Alphonse after a water ceremony
    Photo credit: Kristen Johnny

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