Today is October 4, 2015. Today I will be wearing a red dress and my Metis Sash. Just a few months ago I was wearing my sash in celebration but today I wear it as a symbol of mourning and still holding hope for change. There are Over 1,000 First Nations, Inuit and Metis women and girls who are missing and murdered at this very moment in Canada. These are daughters, sisters, cousins, mothers, aunts, nieces, wives and friends. The are people who have lost their voice at the hands of others.
Jaimie Black created the RedDress Project as an art piece to bring awareness to a very critical situation in our country. Her art has been on display all over Canada for the past 5 years taking donations of red dresses and putting them on display in very public areas to represent all the stolen sisters. It’s a beautifully earie site.
There was study done by the NWAC that looked at 582 cases.
67% are murder cases (death as the result of homicide or negligence);
20% are cases of missing women or girls;
4% are cases of suspicious death—deaths regarded as natural or accidental by police, but considered suspicious by family or community members; and
9% are cases where the nature of the case is unknown—it is unclear whether the woman was murdered, is missing or died in suspicious circumst.
NWAC’s research indicates that, between 2000
and 2008, Aboriginal women and girls represented approximately 10% of all female homicides in Canada. However, Aboriginal women make up only 3% of the
female population. Just over half of the cases (55%) involve women and girls under the age of 31, with 17% of women and girls 18 years of age or younger. Only 8% of cases involve women over 45. More than a quarter (28%) of all cases occurred in my home province of BC. Of the murder cases in NWAC’s database where someone has been charged,
16.5% of offenders are strangers with no prior connection to the woman or girl (in contrast, Statistics Canada reports that, between 1997 and 2004, only 6% of murdered non-Aboriginal women were killed by strangers);
17% of offenders are acquaintances of the woman or girl (a friend, neighbour or someone else known to her); and
23% are a current or former partner of the woman or girl.
NWAC’s research confirms that Aboriginal women experience violence by both Aboriginal and
non-Aboriginal offenders, and the vast majority are men.
As I study more my heart breaks a little more. I wonder sometimes “could Somebody I know and love be next or even me?” I pray often for the stolen sisters. I pray that no more will be lost. Our government seems to put this on the back burner like it’s not a big deal and that’s not acceptable. Something has to be done. Our women and girls need to be protected, they need to have a voice even when they can not speak.
Wear a Red Dress as you go about your day, hang a red dress outside your home, or donate a red dress to the RedDress project and show your support for the Missing and Murder. And if you have it in your heart change your Facebook profile picture…