A ceremony was held today (April 5) to observe Red Dress Day in Williams Lake.
It took place outside the Cariboo Friendship Society to bring awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA.
Lori Winters, the Society’s Peace Counsellor Coordinator said the event was to give them tribute by hanging red dresses, putting up a banner, and having red rocks available for people to put the names of their loved ones on that was either missing or murdered or what love means to them, which be will be placed in the heart-shaped rock garden at the Purple House.
“We had, I think about 12, 13 drummers come and drum for about an hour and a half”, Winters said, “ and then we had some women and men give tribute to people that they have lost and told their stories, it was really great.”
Winters said not just today, but every day we should remember there are women, children, even men, that are out there that are vulnerable and we have to keep them safe and we have to bring them home.
Executive Director for Tsilhqot’in National Government, Jenny Philbrick, shared some staggering statistics.
“There’s a reported three thousand murdered and missing Indigenous women, and I’d say in communities we would say the numbers are a lot higher, I would say five to six thousand. Those numbers have just been since the 1980s and half of those have occurred since the year 2000.”
Philbrick went on to say “88 percent are mothers, and it’s not just an issue that happens on reserve, it’s not just an Indigenous issue. 70 per cent of the disappearances happen in urban areas. That’s 16 percent of homicides are Indigenous women and Indigenous people only make up 4 percent of the Canadian population.”
I think with education we can have a decline in these numbers and that’s what I’m hoping, our women deserve to be safe everywhere they go on a regular basis, it’s their human rights. It’s not something I want to be worried about for my grandchildren in the future. It’s not just an Indigenous issue it’s an everyone issue, Philbrick added.