National Day of Remembrance for MMIWG2S in FSJ

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C – The City of Fort St. John proclaimed May 5th as National Day of Remembrance for Murdered …

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C – The City of Fort St. John proclaimed May 5th as National Day of Remembrance for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People during a council meeting last week.

Originally a 5 km walk was scheduled to occur at Kin Park but was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. Co-organizer Helen Knott says that instead, the Treaty 8 Tribal Association is giving away bags created for the event.

“We just created bags with a few simple items, a small red dress pin for MMIWG2S, water and hand sanitizer,’ says Knott.

“If you see people out walking in red shirts today —not everyone will wear red —they’re walking for MMIWG.”

In a Facebook post Wednesday, First Nations advocate Connie Greyeyes notes a limited number of bags are available.

Residents are encouraged to walk on their own time, take a picture and tag Greyeyes or Knott in the post to be entered to win a “secret gift”.

“Thank you for understanding this was out of our hands, and we need to be responsible and respectful to the restrictions in place,” says Greyeyes’ post.

At the April 26th council meeting, mayor and council hung a red dress in City Hall to support the day of remembrance and the Red Dress Project.

An email and video submitted by Trystan Jones to council suggested the city take part in the demonstration.

“I know in Trystan’s letter he requested that we display [the dress] outside. I know we are expecting some hectic weather up north here again, so I’m going to recommend we display the red dress prominently in our lobby,” said Mayor Lori Ackerman during the meeting.

The letter highlighted the show of solidarity for the Red Dress Project in Ladysmith, where an art installation for the project was torn down. The letter also details information in the MMIWG Report indicating issues that are relevant in Fort St. John.

“The report detailed how there was a direct correlation to resource extraction based communities and MMIWG. We as a community must be cognizant of these findings, and the show of solidarity from the elected leaders at Ladysmith City Hall and its First Nations showcase what good leadership looks like,” said Jones in an email.

The demonstration has become a symbol of recognition across Canada, hanging a red dress to illustrate the issue.

“More than 1,200 Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people have gone missing or been murdered since 1980,” said the proclamation.

“Indigenous women and families have been calling for awareness to be drawn to this issue by hanging a red dress as part of the Red Dress Project one week before May 5th to one week after, to honour the women, girls, and two-spirit peoples who have gone missing or been murdered.”

The dress will stay in City Hall until May 12th.

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