By Matthew Levine
(ANNews) – May 5 is the National Day of Awareness for the prevention of violence against Indigenous women and others, also known as Red Dress Day. Commemoration events are being held across the country to honour and bring awareness to the thousands of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, Transgender, Two-Spirit, and Gender-Diverse+ People across Canada.
Several events are being held in urban centres across Alberta. On May 5th, Bear Clan Beaver Hills House will run a Red Dress Day event in Edmonton.Participants will gather in Churchill Square at 10 AM and complete a 1-kilometre walk to Beaver Hills House Park. In Calgary, the 3rd Annual Mohkinstis MMEIP Red Ribbon/Dress/Shirt Day will be held from 5 to 8 pm at 200 Memorial Dr. NW.
In Drumheller, a Red Dress Day event will be held at 5 pm, Downtown Plaza 1 Street West. In Fort McMurray, Athabasca Tribal Council is holding a solidarity walk of support and healing from 8 am to 4 pm at Borealis Park. In Hinton, a Red Dress Awareness Walk will be held at 11 am at the Hinton Community Centre. In Peace River a Red Dress Day solidarity event will be held at Al ‘Boomer’ Adair Rec Centre, 9702 98 St. In Red Deer, an event will be held at Red Deer City Hall from 9 am till noon.
In Gatineau, Québec, Native Women’s Association of Canada is hosting a commemoration event to honour and bring awareness to the thousands of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, Transgender, Two-Spirit, and Gender-Diverse+ People across Canada. Minister Marc Miller, minister of Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, will be in attendance at the art unveiling portion of the agenda.
Check your local listings to see where a Red Dress Day solidarity event is taking place near you.
The Red Dress Day initiative was created by Métis artist Jaime Black. In May 2010, Black created the REDress Project by hanging hundreds of empty red dresses representing over a thousand missing and murdered women, girls, and Two-Spirit people. Originally starting as the REDdress art installation, Red Dress Day has become a grassroots movement across North America.
The artist chose the colour red after speaking with an Indigenous friend who told her that is the only colour spirits can see. Red dresses are used to call the spirits of missing and murdered women and girls back to their loved ones. The goal was to speak to the gendered and racialized nature of violent crimes against Indigenous women and to evoke a presence by marking absence.
Events like the walks held across Alberta and throughout Canada raise awareness of these ongoing systemic tragedies and play an essential role in remembering and honouring the missing and murdered community members and their families.
Matthew Levine is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter.