Red Dress Day - May 5. Beadwork by Indigenous artists LaVerna Stevens, Clarissa Stevens, and Lori Pascal. Photo used with permission.
National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG)
The loved ones of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls deserve justice. When mothers, sisters, or daughters disappear, how can families and communities go on with normal life? This kind of grief tears at the soul, and it is worse when it goes on for months and years unresolved!
Investigators get called away to look into new crimes, more immediate cases, and abandon difficult ones because of limited time or resources, or because of shifting priorities. Too often cold cases are not followed up on, and loved ones are left without answers and without closure. Grieving families are left in despair, never to know what happened. Many things need to change. The first and most important change is an acknowledgement that every person’s life is vitally important.
Police officers have a difficult and sometimes traumatic job, but an absolute respect for the value of life – all life – must be the central guiding principle, the prime directive, for police investigative work. Racial and cultural biases have no place in our legal system.
When I was your Member of Parliament, I attended a Red Dress ceremony in front of the Parliament buildings with the families of murdered and missing indigenous women and girls. As an MP we were given a special pin of a woman in a red dress. As I stood there surrounded by indigenous people holding up photos of their lost loved ones, I noticed an elder looking at my pin. I knew this was not truly my pin, it belonged to her. I gave it to her, and walked away with a heart full of sorrow.
New Democrats passed a resolution at their 2021 conference to adopt the Indigenous Reconciliation Commission’s 195 Calls to Justice. I strongly support this resolution and urge the Government of Canada to implement them.
On this day of remembrance, my heart goes out to all the families across the land who are mourning the loss of their missing and murdered loved ones.
NDP Candidate Kootenay-Columbia
“I work for all of you!”
Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls:
HOW RED DRESSES BECAME A SYMBOL FOR MISSING AND MURDERED INDIGENOUS WOMEN:
The REDress Project: