South Peace News
High Prairie town council is proclaiming May 5 as the annual Day of Recognition of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).
So if you see a red dress hanging in the window of the town office that day, you know why.
It is part of the request council agreed to after hearing from Carol Hanlon, executive director at the High Prairie Native Friendship Centre, at its April 25 meeting.
Hanlon began her presentation during the public delegation portion of the meeting with a powerful message.
“Brenda Moreside, age 38. Angeline Willier, age 72. Roxeanne Isadore, age 24. Joanne Ghostkeeper, age 24. Carmen L’Hirondelle, age 24. Agnes Chalifoux (age unknown). Do you recognize these names? The are local Indigenous women who were murdered or missing from our aera.”
She also added the names of Kenneth Giroux, Titan Badger and Joey Flett. The day has not only come to symbolize and bring awareness to murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls but also men and boys.
Hanlon explained May 5 is also known as Red Dress Day where people wear red or display red clothing to honor and remember, and to encourage each other to take action for change.
“You may have heard the words ‘No More Stolen Sisters’ and seen the red handprint people paint over their mouths. The red handprint has become a powerful symbol of the movement and symbolizes the missing sisters whose voices are no longer heard.”
In addition to hanging a red dress in the town office window May 5, Hanlon asked council to lower flags to half-mast.
“The red dress has become a symbol of the MMIWG day as many say red is the only colour that spirits see and is worn so that the souls of those we’ve lost can be with us and know that their lives mattered,” said Hanlon.
Included in the proclamation are some alarming and disturbing statistics.
“Alberta has the second highest rate of missing Indigenous women and girls in all of Canada; 16 per cent of the cases are in Alberta and 42 per cent of those cases are unsolved,” said Hanlon.