National Day of Awareness for MMIP

National Day of Awareness for MMIP
Posted on 05/05/2022
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Thursday, May 5, is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous People. Beginning as a grassroots movement called the REDdress project, this day brings awareness to the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous people across Canada.

 

Inspired by Jaime Black, a Métis woman of Anishinaabe and Finnish descent, the first display of red dresses was erected in 2010 at a Saskatchewan university. One of Black's Indigenous friends had explained to her that red was the only color the spirits could see. "So (red) is really a calling back of the spirits of these women and allowing them a chance to be among us and have their voices heard through their family members and community." The dresses are empty to evoke the missing women who should be wearing them. We now also see images of a red hand over the mouth representing all of the missing sisters whose voices will not be heard.

 

The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has revealed that the 'persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses are the root cause behind Canada's staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people'. During the investigation, experts and Knowledge Keepers spoke to specific colonial and patriarchal policies that displaced women from their traditional roles in communities and governance. These implementations diminished the human rights of Indigenous women in society, leaving them vulnerable to abuse and violence.

 

Former HPSD student and Indigenous Influencer Kendra Jessie shared the following cultural teachings on her Instagram site, kendrajessie: 

"In traditional Indigenous cultures, women were highly respected and played an important role in their communities. Women were considered very sacred and powerful as they have the power to create life. Most Indigenous cultures operated in a matriarchal system where your mother would determine your name and your clan. The Cree word for woman is derived from the word fire, as in Indigenous society, women were the traditional firekeepers in the home. "

 

The High Prairie School Division is committed to bringing awareness to this day by conducting various events and activities throughout the division. As well as honouring those women whose lives have been lost to violence, another critical learning piece involves teaching the importance of equal human rights and respect for women in society. By bringing knowledge and understanding and empowering our young women and girls, we can help to make our community safer and more inclusive.

 

For more information, please go to www.alberta.ca/article-red-dress-day.aspx and www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/final-report/

 

 

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