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  • Writer's pictureKerri Isham

Honouring Red Dress Day

On May 5, 2021 people all over North America will wear red to honour and remember Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women Girls and Two Spirited People.

When you see a red dress, it usually indicates that somebody has taken the time to recognize and honour the fact that there are thousands of missing and/or murdered Indigenous women and girls.

The 2019 updated report by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) said in over half of the cases, the women were just under the age of 31, while 17 per cent were 18 years-old and younger.

Of the cases they have tracked, 70 per cent of women and girls disappeared in urban areas and in 60 per cent of those cases the victim was found murdered.

Almost half of the cases are unsolved. The NWAC states Indigenous women are three times more likely to be killed by a stranger than non-indigenous women.

Recently in Ladysmith, B.C. a video surfaced showing two men removing red dresses, placed to raise awareness and honour the women and girls, along a stretch of Vancouver Island highway on the traditional territory of the Stz’uminus First Nation. The video two individuals using branches to remove several red dresses that were hung in the trees. I find this disgraceful and was relieved to hear that the people of Ladysmith have stepped up to right this wrong.

Chief Roxanne Harris of the Stz'uminus First Nation has asked that people bring their red dresses to Ladysmith Town Hall. In collaboration with Mayor Stone, the collected red dresses will be hung from Oyster Bay to the area across from Coronation Mall, all along the highway.

The Fire Department will be donating the use of their bucket trucks to ensure they are hung up high so they cannot be removed again.

I am heading out this weekend to buy a red dress and will be hanging it on the tree at the front of my house.

Will you join me in showing respect for and honouring the MMIWG? This is a small way that we call all come together to show our support.

Download our free resource Tips for Parents. And for more information or guidance, check out our course Creating a Culture of Childhood Protection in our Shop.

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