Michael Redhead Champagne, born and raised in Winnipeg’s North End, is an award-winning community organizer, public speaker, and a proud member of Shamattawa Cree Nation. Michael believes we all have a gift and shows youth the path to discover their own. He is solution oriented and passionate about building system literacy, encouraging volunteerism, and engaging communities to be involved in the design, delivery, and evaluation of any initiative that affects them. Michael is known for his straight up and heartfelt style that will leave you moved, inspired, and ready for action.
Michael’s first opportunity to speak to an engaged audience was in a room filled with community leaders who were speaking about homelessness. Michael was in the audience as someone with lived experience. He didn’t agree with what was being said from the stage, so he raised his hand spoke his truth for the first time publicly – effectively altering the course of the conversation. He was 10 years old at the time.
Growing up in and around the child and family services system, Michael lived through the suicides of many people he cared about, gang violence directed at himself and his peers, and the lack of opportunity for youth growing up in similar circumstances. This led to the founding of AYO! (Aboriginal Youth Opportunities) in 2010. This volunteer youth movement that exists to uplift urban Indigenous youth, and provide them a platform to share their gifts with the world.
Michael believes in leading by example and now travels across Canada sharing his gift with others. Whether he is speaking to educators, youth, the business community or the not-for-profit sector his goal is the same, to help heal, shape and create a call to action for everyone.
Awards and Achievements:
- 2017 Govenor General’s Meritoris Service Decoration recipient for Outstanding Indigenous Leadership
- 2016 Canadian Red Cross Young Humanitarian of the Year
- 2016 CBC Manitoba Future 40 recipient
- 2015 TIME Magazine Next Generation Leader
- Member of Bank of Canada’s #bankNOTEable advisory committee which selected Viola Desmond as the first Canadian woman to appear on a new bank note.
- Member of the Expert Panel on Youth Employment with the Employment and Social Development Canada
- 2013 Manitoba Hero (Blue Bombers)
- 2009 Future Leader of Manitoba
- 2008 Aboriginal Youth Achievement Award - Community
- AYO! (Aboriginal Youth Opportunities)
- Meet Me at the Bell Tower
- Fearless R2W
- Politix Brain Storms
- 100 Basketballs/100 Soccerballs
- The Village Walk
- Host - Inner City Voices CKUW 95.9fm (2012-present)
- United Way of Winnipeg’s Council for Indigenous Relations
- Advisor Healing Forest Initiative North End Community Renewal 2009-2015 (President 2014/2015)
- Circle of Life Thunderbird House, Board Member - 2014/2015
- Community Education Development Association, Board Member - 2009/2010