The National Day of Awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-spirited People is an opportunity to reflect on the disproportionate number of Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people that have died as a result of violent crime. It also provides a special opportunity to share the stories and honour the lives of those who have been taken from this world in violent circumstances.
This day also offers an opportunity for education and awareness around the devastating impact of colonialism, racism, sexism, economic inequality, and widescale systemic inequities on the lives of Indigenous women and girls, and their families and communities.
The day is also nationally recognized as Red Dress Day. Dresses are hung and are empty to evoke the images of the missing women who should be wearing them.
Did you know that:
- Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirited people experience higher rates of violence and are overrepresented as victims of crime. Research has reported that violent victimization perpetrated against Indigenous women is almost triple that of non-Indigenous women.
- Indigenous women and girls are 12 times more likely to be murdered or missing than non-Indigenous women, a number that is even higher for Indigenous women in the North.
- Two-spirited people are often additionally targeted because of gender identity and/or sexual orientation, referred to as a “triple jeopardy” for various forms of interpersonal and institutional violence.
- Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirited people with disabilities face significantly greater risks of violent victimization than non-Indigenous people.
- The exact number of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirited people in Canada is unknown as thousands of these deaths or disappearances have been unreported or misreported over the decades and indeed over centuries.
As an organization, as we journey on the path of Reconciliation, we felt it important that we use this day as an opportunity to raise awareness amongst our staff and our wider community about the disproportionate number of Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirited people that are victims of violent crime, and at risk of being victims of violent crime.
We decided to do this in a very visible way – with a display of red dresses hung from a tree, and a display of paper red dresses hung throughout our offices.
We’ve put together a brief video sharing some photos from May 5th below.
We would like to extend our sincere thanks to all those who supported our Red Dress Day initiative on May 5th by contributing a red dress for our display, and/or taking the time to learn about the life of an Indigenous woman, girl or two-spirit person that has been murdered or has gone missing, and sharing your reflections on a paper red dress. We truly appreciate your participation and engagement in this important initiative.