National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Date in the current year: May 5, 2023

National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls The National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, also know as Red Dress Day, is observed in the United States and Canada on May 5. It was established to raise awareness of missing and murdered indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

According to statistics, Indigenous women in the FNMI (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) and Native American communities in Canada and the United States are disproportionately affected by all forms of violence. However, the cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women are often underrepresented in the media and not investigated properly due to police bias.

In Canada, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) has been described as a national human-rights crisis and a genocide. Numerous Indigenous groups, activists, journalists and NGOs have launched the MMIWG movement to raise awareness of the issue.

In December 2015, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the initiation of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which was officially launched in September 2016.

The final report was released in June 2019. It is comprised of testimony from over 2,300 survivors of violence, their family members, Knowledge Keepers and experts, and includes calls to eliminate underlying factors that contribute to the victimization of Indigenous woman, such as poverty, homelessness and lack of access to education and employment.

In the United States, the Violence Against Women Act has been reauthorized several times to give Indigenous tribes the right to investigate and prosecute domestic violence cases. In addition, several states have passed legislation to increase awareness of the issue of MMIWG and to build databases that make tracking MMIWG easier.

Indigenous activists in Canada and the United States have been organizing vigils, protests and campaigns to raise awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual) individuals. They include, for example, the Women’s Memorial March in Vancouver, the Sisters in Spirit vigils, Walking with Our Sisters, the Faceless Doll Project, and more.

In 2010, Indigenous Canadian artist and activist Jaime Black launched the REDress Project to raise awareness of the MMIWG epidemic in Canada and the United States by creating installations of empty red dresses that evoke missing indigenous women who should be wearing them. Her first installation was exhibited at the Institute for Women’s and Gender Studies of the University of Winnipeg.

The REDress project held the first Red Dress Day on May 5, 2010. Eight years later, the United States declared May 5 as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls; Canada observes it, too. In addition to mourning missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, the day also raises awareness of missing and murdered indigenous 2SLGBTQQIA people.

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Category

Anniversaries and Memorial Days

Country

USA, Canada

Tags

National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Red Dress Day, MMIWG movement