Kingston, Ont. commemorates Red Dress Day for missing and murdered Indigenous women

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WATCH: Red dresses were hung on Queen's University campus, and a ceremony was held at Confederation Park – May 5, 2022

Eighteen red dresses have been hung on street light poles along University Avenue on the Queen’s University campus.

These dresses are meant to represent missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, gender non-specific and two-spirit people.

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The goal of the display is to raise awareness about the issue.

“Genocide. That’s how it’s been phrased, is a genocide of Indigenous women and and girls and two spirit,” says Queen’s Associate Vice-Principal of Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation Jan Hill.

“The stats speak for themselves. They say that Indigenous women and girls are 12 times more likely to be murdered or go missing than any other woman in Canada.”

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As of June 2021, the Native Women’s Association of Canada had estimated approximately 4,000 Indigenous women are missing in the country.

There was a national inquiry made into this issue, resulting in over 200 calls to action on governments, institutions and agencies to help protect Indigenous women.

“Due to all the societal issues we face as peoples, there’s still a strong feeling, in my perception, that we’re still seen as expendable,” Hill says.

There was also a ceremony held at Confederation Park Thursday afternoon for Red Dress Day.

There was a red shawl performance, a sacred fire and people exchanged stories and experiences of family members and friends who have tragically fallen victim to acts of violence.

“I had an auntie that was missing,” says Lorie Young. “We found her about, I think, two years ago. We were searching for her. So she was on the missing and murdered Indigenous women’s list.”

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The dresses at Queen’s will be taken down at the end of the day, and will be raised again next Thursday for the Moose Hide campaign march that will happen on campus.

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The Moose Hide campaign was started by Indigenous men for missing and murdered Indigenous women, and their march next week is expected to bring more attention to the subject.

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