May 5 is Red Dress Day

May 3, 2023

Red Dress Day and conversations about MMIWG2S+ can be difficult for people from impacted communities. The MMIWG Support Line, an independent, national, toll-free support call line, is available free of charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 1-844-413-6649

Red Dress Day is a day of honour, remembrance and national awareness for the thousands of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people (MMIWG2S+). Stark images of red dresses hanging from trees or structures were used by Métis artist Jaime Black of the ReDress Project to symbolize the absence of those whose lives will not be forgotten. Red Dress Day is also a time to commemorate the collective and ongoing efforts by Indigenous individuals, families, communities, grassroots activists and organizations to raise awareness and demand accountability from the federal, provincial and territorial governments in addressing this genocide.

Since the release of the 2021 National Action Plan, little progress has been made to address and implement the 231 Calls for Justice (PDF, 643 KB) of the Final Report of the National Inquiry into MMIWG2S+. Section 3 of the Calls for Justice articulates the necessity of culturally safe, trauma-informed services across the lifespan for the health and well-being of Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people. The restoration and growth of Indigenous midwifery across Indigenous communities is a powerful means of preventing systemic racist, gendered and sexual violence through the provision of culturally safe reproductive and sexual health care.

Here are some actions settlers can take to educate yourself and lend support this May 5:

  • Familiarize yourself with the National Inquiry, the 231 Calls for Justice, and the National Action Plan
  • Learn about and donate to Indigenous-led organizations and collectives such as:

    ♦ The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), an organization that contributed to and stepped away from the National Action Plan process. They later released their own 65-part action plan that centres survivors and their families entitled Our Calls, Our Actions (PDF, 294 MB), to help advance the implementation of the 231 Calls for Justice.

    ♦ The Call Auntie Clinic, a community-based health clinic that provides culturally safe support, resources, and access to sexual and reproductive health grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing and being.
  • Immerse yourself in some of the written, visual, audio resources about MMIWG2S+.
  • Invite a friend/colleague/loved one to attend a Red Dress Day event in your community or online and share joint reflections afterward.
  • Wear red and share resources on social media using the hashtags: #RedDressDay, #MMIWG2S.