You see a beautiful red dress hanging in the trees. The day on the calendar May 5th, reminds us that it represents the many Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit Persons who have been viciously murdered. Some of these precious souls have been found, but most are still missing. What that red dress stands for is really not beautiful at all!
Red Dress Day is a somber gathering and speaks loudly. Families across the nation speak out on this day, “We are visible and we are here. We stand with our message, not to be a part of a problem, but a part of the solution”.
We can never let the memories of missing women silently slip away. Much work needs to be done every day to change attitudes, change environments, change the outcome and future generations for Indigenous Women. ALL people standing together, using their voices is paramount in the work needed to make change against the injustice of crimes against Indigenous Women.
There are 231 Calls for Justice. They are legal imperatives and not optional. They represent important ways to end the genocide and to transform systemic and societal values that have worked to maintain colonial violence.
In Call #1: The Calls are to ensure that equitable access to basic rights such as employment, housing, education, safety, and health care is recognized as a fundamental means of protecting Indigenous and human rights, resourced and supported as rights-based programs founded on substantive equality. All programs must be no-barrier and must apply regardless of Status or location.
In Call #4: All governments must support and resource economic and social progress and development on an equitable basis, as these measures are required to uphold the human dignity, life, liberty, and security of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. All governments must support and resource community-based supports and solutions designed to improve social and economic security, led by Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. This support must come with long-term, sustainable funding designed to meet the needs and objectives as defined by Indigenous Peoples and communities.
Call #15: Denounce and speak out against violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.
Calls for All Canadians:
Within every encounter, each person has a role to play in order to combat violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. Beyond those Calls aimed at governments or at specific industries or service providers, we encourage every Canadian to consider how they can give life to these Calls for Justice.
Women in Indigenous culture once had power and ultimate respect. Violent treatment of women completely goes against the value that Indigenous Peoples traditionally placed on them. They were the life-givers and held leadership roles in various areas such as economics, spirituality, and politics within their communities. Through decolonization and the arrival of European ideology, the horrific mistreatment began. There is still very little justice for centuries of murders and violence against Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit Peoples. They are 12 times more likely to be murdered and go missing than other women in Canada. This needs to change…today!
The federal government in 2019 finally declared violence against Indigenous Women and Girls “a national tragedy of epic proportion.”
Industrial and Business Canada, when partnering with It’s Time For Change can make the most immediate and positive difference. When we begin to communicate and collaborate with Indigenous Peoples it will most definitely bring a strong economy to individuals and communities. When the economy is strong, it is statistically proven wellness is up, confidence flows from one generation to the next and sparks ongoing prosperity.
To end violence toward Indigenous Women and Girls racist and sexist attitudes must be reversed. Addressing structural factors such as underfunding of basic human needs including housing, clean water, food security, education and employment is the first step. Solid investigations into past and present cases of missing and murdered Indigenous Women and Girls must occur and the punishment MUST fit the crime. A huge barrier to making these changes is factored by the dominant male presence within the different agencies responsible for making decisions. Indigenous Women from all walks of life should be included, respected and heard. Cooperation and co-existence will lead to survival.
Indigenous women today are leading the way toward healing the wounds of colonization, as they confront the issues of residential schools, MMIWG2S, centuries of racism, abuse, violence, drug and alcohol addictions. They cannot continue to hang red dresses in the trees, hoping the hearts of Canadians feels their pain and address their needs. As a society, the time to come together in Truth and Reconciliation and Respect is now. No longer can Talk be the way forward. Action is required by all.
As we honour Red Dress Day and all that it represents, It’s Time For Change stands alongside Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit Peoples with determination to bring about positive well-being, economic, lifelong changes for their future.