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Southern Alberta community supports REDress campaign

Click to play video: 'Drive-thru REDress event held in honour of missing and murdered Blood Tribe members' Drive-thru REDress event held in honour of missing and murdered Blood Tribe members
The Kainai Wellness Centre put together a physically-distanced event in Stand Off on Friday to raise awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, men and boys, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. Eloise Therien has more on the importance and meaning of the REDress campaign. – Feb 19, 2021

Dozens of people attended a drive-thru event in Stand Off, Alta., Friday morning to honour murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls, as well as boys, men, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

The event was inspired by the REDress Project, versions of which are held across Canada annually.

Organized by the Blood Tribe Department of Health Wellness Program, the event was setup as a drive-thru at Red Crow Park due to the COVID-19 pandemic, where participants stayed in their vehicles as they observed the displays.

“We just wanted to (encourage the community) to come and participate and share their stories of their loved-ones that have been murdered or gone missing,” Dana Wells-Durocher, with the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls organization, said.

Those who attended were given information packages and drove around the park to view red dresses, shirts, and other clothing hanging from trees which represented the murdered and missing.

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Read more: Vandalism of REDress art project seen as further violation of missing and murdered aboriginal women

Many of the 40 or so garments were accompanied by photos or posters, providing insight into the lives lost.

Elder Keith Chief Moon began the event with a smudging ceremony and prayer.

Moon said he was not sure what to expect in terms of turnout due to the windy winter conditions and COVID-19 protocols but was pleasantly surprised.

“I’m very honoured that they took this time with their busy schedules to pay attention, that this awareness has to be addressed,” he said.

Former Miss Blackfoot Canada Selena Medicine Shield and her family set up a display to honour her late grandmother Gloria Black Plume, who was killed in 1999.

Medicine Shield said her family has been attending similar events for most of her life, helping to raise awareness for injustices against Indigenous women and children.

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“She never got justice. She got murdered in a back alley in Calgary, Alberta. The two guys got away with it. That’s why we’re here, to represent her and honour her life,” Medicine Shield said.

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“It’s also my grandmother’s birthday today, so that’s why we have birthday balloons for her.”

Wells-Durocher said they have plans to create a monument to help honour Blood Tribe members whose lives were taken, and encourages members to reach out if they wish to participate.

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