The ritual of hanging red dresses outside, on trees, on fences, on porch rafters, everywhere outside that can hold them high was started as a symbol to call attention to the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls crisis. It is a ritual in commemoration of the missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW). The movement was created to raise awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) through organized marches, the building of databases, local community, city council, and tribal council meetings, and domestic violence trainings for police.
The movement has been described as a Canadian national crisis and Canadian genocide. In response to repeated calls from Indigenous groups, activists, and non-governmental organizations, the Government of Canada established a national public inquiry, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in September 2016.
Every year, Esquimalt resident NormageneThompson joins hundreds of Indigenous people across North America in hanging red dresses. Thompson to her dismay has had her hanging red dresses torn down not once, but twice by vandals.
“The dresses are meant to create dialogue and raise awareness,” she said. “Whoever took them may have stolen the dresses, but they didn’t steal their meaning. They are working and they are making a difference.” A post Thompson made to an Esquimalt community group has more than 300 reactions and 100 comments.
We are raising awareness of this cause here and want to notify site visitors that the Indigenous groups and activists have been pleading this cause for many years now. It seems as though the Canadian government finally acted in 2016 but in reality, not much more has been done other than to say we are aware of the issue and working on it. Whatever that means.
Anyone interested in donating a red dress to Thompson can reach her at email@example.com