May 5th - National Day of Awareness for Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit Peoples

By Jesse Halton, District Indigenization Coordinator

CW: this topic may be sensitive for some people to read through. There are resources for wellness at the end of the post.

May 5th marks the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit Peoples. It is also known as Red Dress Day. It is a day to build awareness for, promoting education about, and honouring Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit Peoples. Wear Red on this day. The colour red is known to be the colour that spirits can see and helps guide those who are missing home. 

Facts about MMIWG2S in Canada

Here is our #sd8abed MMIWG2S awareness project video. Many thanks to Tom Weager photography for the partnership on this project. What does the red handprint symbolise? The first person to prominently make use of the symbol was Jordan Marie Daniel, Kul Wicasa Oyate – Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, who dedicated her 2019 Boston Marathon to 26 MMIWG2S. Since then, the symbol has been used by Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island. It is used to build awareness of the issue in North America.

What can you do? There are 231 Calls for Justice from Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Teach a lesson plan in your class to build awareness. Watch some films about MMIWG2S. 


Why is this topic important to you?

"Our aunt was murdered in 2015. Our family still does not have any information about what happened to her." - Jesse Halton

"Because all IWG2S should feel safe, protected, and loved. We need to protect each other and tell the world that this is not okay." - Danica Weager

"I would say it’s important to let people know what happened and what is happening and that they should stand up and show their support." -Hailey, MSSS student

"This topic represents standing together to honour and acknowledge Missing Murder Women and Girls and Two Spirit Indigenous peoples. , I believe that when we stand together, supporting each other we are all stronger and wiser." - Gail Higginbottom

"This topic is important for us to talk about openly to give our children, youth and families a voice and to stop the silent suffering.Because MMIWG2S were not given an opportunity to be heard and were forced to suffer in silence for far too long." - Christy & Alexis, community members

"It is important to me because of spreading awareness, and showing other kids that they can stand up for what matters to them." - Senna, MSSS student

 

How can all Canadians engage in building awareness for MMIWG2S?

"Canadians need to get out there and understand what has happened and what is still happening." - MSSS student

"Have open hearts and empathy when hearing stories, and be an active participant in an action plan." - Trafalgar parent

"Canadians can engage by participating in events, reading articles, listening to news stories and podcasts on this topic." - Redfish parent

"Get curious about the issue, read the Calls for Justice, talk to their family and friends, educate their children." - Community parent

 

What is important in this journey of building awareness for MMIWG2S?

"It is important for Indigenous people to have opportunities to build community together,  share experiences, and heal together.  It is also important to stand alongside allies who contribute each day to awareness and Reconciliation. #strongertogether." - Gail Higginbottom

"Making space for IWG2S to share their voices. Representation matters." - Danica Weager

"Amplify the voices and stories of the families.. if they are open to sharing." - Jesse Halton

 

Why is it important to protect our mothers, aunties, sisters, cousins, and two-spirit kin?

"To preserve cultural connections." - Community member

"It is important because they are the base of society." - MSSS student

"Everyone has the right to feel safe, loved, protected and honoured." - Parent

 

What steps are next in the movement? 

"Everyone should read the Calls for Justice. Hold governments accountable to the Calls for Justice. Education is important. Representation is vital!" - Community member

"Next steps include continuing to build awareness which includes leading this awareness through lessons in all schools within Kootenay Lake (No.8) School District." - Gail Higginbottom

"Just bringing more people in to take a stand and actively participate." - Student

"For our ancestors to be celebrated!" - Student

"I would love to see the calls for Justice be acted upon and for the scared teachings to be valued in a way that our ancestors would have wanted." - Parent


Wellness and Support can be found in this post


Jesse Halton

By Jesse Halton, District Indigenization Coordinator