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Settler Education 101: Red Dress Day, 2024

Remembering Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women


Red Dress Day is an annual day to remember missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, and all other sexual orientations and genders (2SLGBTQQIA+) people.


Metis Artist Jaime Black wanted to call attention to the disproportionate rates of violence against Indigenous women, and in 2010 produced an artistic installation of empty red dresses at the University of Winnipeg.


She selected the date to coincide with May 5, which was the birthday of Lisa Marie Young, who disappeared from Nanaimo on July 1, 2002 at age 21. Young has never been found.


To mark the day, University of British Columbia (UBC) School of Nursing has released a statement:


As current and future health care leaders, we call on Canadian society to recognize the systemic disregard for Indigenous Peoples’ human rights and to help stop colonialism’s violence, injustice, and atrocities.


On May 5th, and every day, we urge all nurses to become involved, raise awareness, and join actions/movements to build a just and more peaceful society, particularly for those affected families whose lives have been altered forever.


Amnesty International's call to action states:


NO MORE STOLEN SISTERS

Currently, Indigenous women make up 16 per cent of all femicide victims and 11 per cent of all missing women. Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ peoples are also six times more likely to be murdered than their non-Indigenous counterparts. These high rates of violence have drawn widespread expressions of concern from national and international human rights authorities, which have repeatedly called for Canada to address the problem.


You can send your own personalized letter to the Prime Minister HERE.


In Winnipeg, NDP Member of Parliament Leah Gazan announced that the Government of Canada and the Province of Manitoba are working together to release a Red Dress Alert, a national system to alert the public when an Indigenous woman, girl or 2SLGBTQQIA+ person goes missing. APTN has the story HERE.


Have thoughts to share on Red Dress Day? Leave your comments below, or email us at editor@lionsbaywatershed.ca 


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