Red Dress Day MMIWG2S - May 5th

When: May 5, 2024 - 12:00am to 11:30pm Where: Canada

Red Dress Day is on May 5th (Sunday). A day that reminds us of the continued shortcomings that Indigenous People face at the hands of Canada and The United States.

MMIWG2S stands for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit.

This is a human rights crisis of racialized violence and gender-based discrimination.
Indigenious people live in this reality every moment of every day. Every time a family member takes too long to respond, is arrested and/or goes to a faraway location.

The following is a bit of history:

~ A 2014 Royal Canadian Mounted Police report identified 1,181 Indigenous women and girls who went missing or were murdered in Canada between 1980 and 2012. (See also Highway of Tears.) However, Indigenous groups place this number at more than 4,000, citing underreporting and ineffective data keeping as reasons for the discrepancy. (See also Indigenous Women’s Issues in Canada.)

In Canada, Indigenous women, girls and members of the 2SLGBTQQIA (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual) community in Canada face disproportionate amounts of violence. While Indigenous women account for less than 5 per cent of the Canadian population, they make up 24 per cent of female homicide victims.

Métis artist Jaime Black began the REDress Project, an art installation, in 2010. Black gathered and hung hundreds of empty, red dresses to represent the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. She described her artwork: “Through the REDress Project, the spirits of the missing or murdered women and girls stand with us here today, giving us courage, strength and clarity — leading us forward on the path to REclaim our sovereignty as indigenous women.” The first installation was at the University of Winnipeg in March 2011. The project gained attention, and Black soon received hundreds of donated red dresses from across the country. The REDress Project is now a permanent exhibit at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and has been exhibited in Canadian universities, legislatures, hospitals and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Red dresses are also frequently hung outside, from trees, houses or statues, to bring awareness to the crisis.

Inspired by Jaime Black’s REDress Project, Red Dress Day was first commemorated in 2010. The day is used to pay respect to the victims, raise awareness of the crisis and call on governments to take action to address the racialized and gendered violence inflicted on Indigenous peoples in Canada. Commemorations vary from community to community, but generally observers wear red and hang red dresses from trees, statues and doors. In some communities, marches, processions and vigils are held. While Red Dress Day is not a statutory holiday, it has gained increasing recognition across the country. ~

We encourage everyone to review the MMIW Final Report and search up more history on MMIWG.