Red dress day events take place across the country

Red Dress day

Thursday marks the annual Red Dress day, a national day of awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and Two-Spirit Peoples.

Rallies and walks were held across the country including Winnipeg where dozens of people gathered outside city hall to commemorate the day.

Families and survivors were on hand to raise awareness on the issue and participate in song and prayer.

Sisters Kim McPherson and Gerri Pangman from Peguis First Nation lost their sister and aunt to violence.

“For me it’s very important to keep raising awareness and to let people know that our loved ones were loved, they were beautiful human beings that once walked here. That they are someone and to keep being my sister’s voice, my auntie’s voice because there’s so much, women are still going missing so we still need a lot of work to be done,” Pangman said.

McPherson hopes with days like today, more people can learn about the issues that are still present today.

“Today, why I like participating is to remind everybody that this is not just an Indigenous issue this is a society issue. This is an issue that I hope Canadians champion and walk with us. Walk with families to try to find justice and also to prevent this from happening again,” McPherson said.

A large gathering then congregated near Manitoba’s legislature before walking to the Oodena Circle in The Forks where more song and prayer took place.

The Oodena Circle is a natural shallow amphitheater where many celebrations and events take place. Oodena in Ojibwe means “heart of the community.”

Watch Darrell Stranger’s story here:

In Calgary, red dresses and ribbons were hung throughout the city for the day as hundreds gathered to remember loved ones.

Much of the event took place along Memorial Dr. where the body of Blackfoot woman Joey English was found in 2016.

Deborah Green-Gopher organized the gathering while honouring her sister Laney.

“She was murdered in 1982 by a starlight tour outside of Calgary,” she says. “Our family has been advocating for many years for the movement. Her murder was never investigated or solved.”

Green-Gopher says police were asked not to attend the event.

“We did have two police officers show up earlier,” she says. “We had to ask them to leave in a respectful way, not them as people, but the uniform they represent. They’re welcome to join us without their uniform. It’s very trauma-triggering for a lot of families that have come to heal.”

Watch Tamara Pimentel’s story here:

Four hours north in Edmonton, about 300 people gathered in the downtown core where a round dance took place.

That’s where the Bear Clan and Water Warriors YEG hosted the day’s events.

Watch Chris Stewart’s story here:

In Nunavut, a woman is five times more likely to die from murder than the Canadian average.

They’re also 11 times more likely to be victims of violence.

It was no surprise that the Red Dress march in Iqaluit brought people out.

According to Statistics Canada, two-thirds of reported crimes in Nunavut are against women.

Watch Kent Driscoll’s story here:

In Toronto, an all day event was held at an urban park honour Red Dress day.

People came from far and wide to commemorate the day and have a say in what comes next.

Some said not enough change was taking place to make life safer for Indigenous women.

Watch Annette Francis’s story from Toronto here:

Thousands of kilometres to the west, people in Terrace B.C., families and supporters rallied along the infamous Hwy 16, also known as the “Highway of Tears.”

That’s where a Red Dress was hung outside the RCMP detachment and people got to have their say.

Watch Lee Wilson’s story here:

Reporter / Winnipeg

Darrell is a proud member of Peguis First Nation in Manitoba. He is a graduate of the television program from Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton. He is returning to APTN after having completed an internship with us in 2018 and a brief stop as a reporter in B.C. in 2019.

Video Journalist / Calgary

Tamara is Métis from Winnipeg, Manitoba. She received a diploma in interactive media arts at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon and has worked as a videographer for CBC in Winnipeg and Iqaluit. Tamara was hired by APTN in 2016 as a camera/editor and is now a video journalist in our Calgary bureau.

Video Journalist / Edmonton

Chris Stewart has been in the media for 20 years. He has worked at CBC, Global and CTV as a news camera operator and editor. Chris joined APTN in 2012 in the Saskatoon Bureau and moved to APTN Edmonton bureau in 2015 as a Videojournalist.

Video Journalist / Iqaluit

Kent has been APTN’s Nunavut correspondent since 2007. In that time he has closely covered Inuit issues, including devolution and the controversial Nutrition North food subsidy. He has also worked for CKIQ-FM in Iqaluit and as a reporter for Nunavut News North.

Video Journalist / Kitimat Village, B.C.

Lee is a video journalist with APTN News, who shoots, reports and edits stories out of northern British Columbia. As a member of the Haisla Nation, Lee is proud to call Kitimat Village home again after living on Vancouver Island for 18 years. He has a passion for storytelling and looks forward to sharing stories through the lens of First Nations people.