Mayor Nancy Peckford offered the following statement on May 5 to mark the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Two-Spirited People (MMIWG):
Today is a day we honour Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people who have gone missing, had their lives taken too soon, or continue to experience violence. We also honour the families and Survivors who have had the courage to share their painful experiences.
Statistics show Indigenous women continue to disappear and to be the victims of violence at a higher rate than non-Indigenous women.
According to the Honourable Patti Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services of Canada, as many as 4,000 Indigenous women and girls are believed to have been killed or gone missing in Canada over the past 30 years – although the true number of victims is unlikely ever to be known.
That is - in part - why earlier this week, the House of Commons adopted a motion on unanimous consent calling on the federal government to declare ongoing violence against Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people a national emergency.
Some have also pushed for a public alert system that would send a notification to phones, television, and radio when an Indigenous woman disappears.
Also known as Red Dress Day, May 5 is a day when people of all backgrounds are encouraged to wear red to honour and help raise awareness about MMIWG, who have and continue to be subjected to disproportionate violence in Canada.
Métis artist Jaime Black initiated the REDress project in 2010 as a visual reminder and a symbol of the grief and loss suffered by victims’ families and Survivors of MMIWG.
The final report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and girls was presented in June 2019, and highlighted systemic causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls, and the underlying social, economic, cultural, institutional, and historical causes that contribute to the ongoing violence and particular vulnerabilities of Indigenous women and girls in Canada.
Indigenous women, girls, 2SLGBTQQIA+ people have the right to be safe in their communities, wherever they live. There is much more work to be done to end violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
The Municipality acknowledges this day as we continue to work towards meaningful reconciliation. To that end, we are currently creating a reconciliation framework, which will be brought forward to the soon to be established Indigenous Advisory Circle, who will support the Municipality in identifying some crucial next steps. More information is available on our website..
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