May 5th marked the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), also known as Red Dress Day, in Canada. Indigenous groups across Canada hung red dresses to commemorate the nearly 1200 missing and murdered Indigenous women last Wednesday.
The Green Party of Canada used social media to urge the federal government to stay committed to its National Action Plan. The government implemented the plan following a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGTBQQIA+ people in 2019. The plan relies on the cooperation of Indigenous organizations, provincial governments, and departments across the federal government. These partners work together to share promising strategies, identify gaps and challenges, and discuss ongoing priorities for Indigenous communities.
The National Inquiry’s Final Report calls for transformative legal and social changes to resolve this epidemic devastating Indigenous communities. The report delivers 231 Calls for Justice directed at governments, institutions, social services providers, and industries in Canada.
It also is important to consider the intergenerational trauma and marginalization that Indigenous communities continue to experience in Canada. Indigenous experts and Knowledge Keepers highlight that specific colonial practices displaced Indigenous women from their traditional roles in communities and left them more vulnerable to violence.
In response to the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada, Metis artist Jaime Black created the REDress project. The project started when Black used red dresses to commemorate Indigenous women in an art installation at the University of Winnipeg’s Institute for Women’s and Gender Studies in 2010. Today there are Red Dress installations across North America to remember the Indigenous women who are no longer with us.
Throughout the National Week of Action for MMIWG, activists used social media to spread awareness using the hashtag #NoMoreStolenSisters. Despite their efforts, many content creators found that Instagram deleted their posts and stories on Thursday morning. While Instagram claims that this erasure was part of a system update, it worked to silence many Indigenous voices.
The Green Party of Canada remains committed to reconciliation with Indigenous people and the cultural revitalization of Indigenous communities. Green Party leader Annamie Paul has affirmed her dedication to fighting injustice while celebrating and uplifting Indigenous peoples across Canada.