(Sudbury, May 5, 2022) Today is National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
It is also known as Red Dress Day. Since 2011, people have been hanging red dresses in public places to remember missing and murdered Indigenous females in Canada, who are estimated to number in the thousands.
All three institutions will be accepting donations of red dresses on their individual campuses.
“The hanging of the red dresses reminds us to pause, reflect, grieve and commit to working together to end the ongoing violence toward Indigenous women and girls and 2SLLGBTQQIA to ensure a safer world for all,” says Dr. Susan Manitowabi, Laurentian’s Interim Associate Vice-President in the Office of Academic and Indigenous Programs.
The red dress was chosen for a variety of reasons. According to Indigenous culture, red is the only colour spirits can see, and is a way of calling the spirits of missing and murdered women and girls back to their loved ones. The colour red also symbolizes many things, such as blood, anger, love and the strength of women. It is also eye-catching and hard to ignore.
“As an Indigenous person, I believe this initiative is very important for everyone,” says Richard Meilleur, an elder at College Boreal. “In order to heal, this type of injustice has to stop and more awareness efforts need to be made so we can move forward and hopefully prevent more trauma. J’encourage tous les gens de participer, de s’informer, d’en apprendre, et de faire ce qu’on peut pour aider les survivants et les familles affectées.”
All the red dresses donated will be used to create pathways on each campus, to draw attention to murdered and missing indigenous women and girls in Canada. This event is being held Tuesday, February 14, 2023, during the academic year, to encourage student and employee participation.
“This important collaboration between all three campuses will bring awareness to the memory of those gone missing and the importance of reducing and eliminating violence against women,” adds Ron Sarazin, Director of the Wabnode Centre for Indigenous Services at Cambrian College. “We must learn from our past and move forward to create a positive safe future for our community.”
Donations of red dresses can be made at the following locations on campus: