In front of one Wetaskiwin group home is a red dress. It hangs from a tree in the front yard, and in the background paper red dresses are plastered to the front window. The paper dresses surround a sign that reads: No more stolen sisters #MMIW.
Skyla Rabbit who works at the group home says it’s all about awareness. She helped put the display up for May 5, Red Dress Day. May 5 is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).
Rabbit says that the visual representation of awareness for MMIWG is all about opening the conversation. “It’s just recognition,” she says.
Amidst COVID-19 and the restrictions that accompany the pandemic, there have been reports of a sharp rise in violence against Indigenous across Canada. There are now concerns that the pandemic could delay the promised June delivery of a national action plan on missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Rabbit hopes that by hanging the red dress in front of the group home, and putting up posters that people it will make people look and take a moment to think about the MMIW. Rabbit also encourages people to ask questions or to look up more about red dress day and the MMIW the nationwide issue.
Public education and awareness on the issue can only help.
There has historically been a lack of transparency and avaiability of information and resources to the public on MMIW across Canada. Rabbit hopes that even in some small way the hanging red dress can make others stop and think; a statement to not let the MMIW be forgotten.