Community honours missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls on Red Dress Day
REGINA -- Red Dress Day is about honouring the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two spirited people, and this year Regina citizens marked the occasion in a number of ways.
The YWCA Regina hosted a healing dance event outside of city hall. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only a small number of people were able to attend.
Among those who watched the dance performance were Michelle Burns and her son, Seran. They were honouring Michelle’s twin sister who was murdered in 2015.
Burns holds a photo of his aunt, who was killed in 2015. (Stefanie Davis, CTV News Regina)
“We wanted to come and honour her and just remember her in this way,” she said. “It’s important for us because the hurt never really goes away, it’s always there. But when we honour them it’s a good way of healing for us.”
She said she would like to see more truth and reconciliation actions implemented as one way of honouring the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, like her sister.
“I think there’s a lot more that can be done, especially for young Indigenous girls,” she said.
BUSINESSES GIVING BACK
Some businesses in Regina found ways to contribute to fitting community organizations on Red Dress Day.
The Bannock House is donating 20 per cent of its sales from the day to the YWCA Regina, where women and children can go if they are in need of a safe place.
Pamela Carpenter, the owner of The Bannock House, said part of the reason she wanted to do something was to help raise awareness.
“The issues over the last 25 years have not gotten any better, but they’re getting worse,” she said. “We need education, we need conversations, we need people to have awareness.”
Aware House Books is selling red dress pins with proceeds going to The Circle Project. The pins will continue to be sold after Red Dress Day.
“When we wear our red pins, it helps to keep those conversations going and keep that level of awareness going throughout the year,” Ann Perry, the executive director of The Circle Project, said.
These red dress pins are being sold at Aware House Books. (Stefanie Davis, CTV News Regina)
The Circle Project is an Indigenous organization that has been operating in Regina for 33 years. It offers programs in family violence, cultural competence, child care centres and more.
The money donated from the red pins will go towards The Circle Project’s new community and cultural hub centre in the north central neighbourhood.
Perry said Red Dress Day is an important day for the entire community to recognize.
“At the project, we’ve actually had former program participants and former students that sadly are among the missing and murdered Indigenous women and to see the heartbreak in the families, it’s really important that people recognize that this is still happening in our community,” she said. “When you can raise the level of awareness, you can shine a bright light into those dark areas. The more we talk about it, the more we shine that bright light, the less likelihood that the Indigenous women will be at risk.”
Perry said their new location will help more people access their programs. She’s hoping they will move in by September.