May 5 marks the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Gender-Diverse Kin (MMIWG), also known as Red Dress Day. This day is set aside to raise awareness of the overwhelming violence and injustices suffered by Indigenous communities and to stand in solidarity with survivors and their friends and families.
This day began as a response to more than 1,000 missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada by artist Jaime Black. Her art installation, The REDress Project, has come to represent MMIWG across Canada and parts of the U.S. The red dresses are a visual reminder of all those who went missing.
MMIWG was the subject of a three-year National Inquiry, resulting in the 2019 report, Reclaiming Power and Place, and 231 Calls for Justice that outline the actions needed to halt and redress the devastating violence against Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people.
“The legacies of residential schools, the 60s scoop and ongoing colonization including resource theft and socio-economic conditions like poverty, sexism, racism and discrimination often fall the hardest on women and gender-diverse people,” notes North Eastern Ontario Family and Children’s Services.
MMIWG Statistics are Staggering
The sheer number of Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse kin who experience violence in Canada is staggering.
- Indigenous women represent 10% of the total population of missing women in Canada. (Justice Research and Data)
- Between 2015 and 2020, 24% of female homicide victims in Canada were Indigenous despite being just 5% of the population. (NWAC)
- First Nations and Métis women report having been physically or sexually assaulted since the age of 15, a rate that is significantly higher than that reported by non-Indigenous women. (NWAC)
Resources on MMIWG for Red Dress Day 2023 and Every Day
To help you recognize MMIWG 2023, BC CRN has collected information and resources to share with your networks.
- Reclaiming Power and Place: the final report of the National Commission on MMIWG.
- BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres: Raising awareness of and educating Canadians on the current state of reconciliation in Canada, UNDRIP, Indigenous Ally Toolkit and much more.
- Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC): Read about the Safe Passage Project, a community-driven, trauma-informed and survivor-informed initiative.
- About National MMIWG2S Awareness Day (Simon Fraser University): Includes videos, podcasts and books to learn about the issue, survivors’ stories and other sharable information.
- Resources for the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People (May 5) (Western University)
- Indigenous Women, Intimate Partner Violence and Housing (Western University)