This is a day to pay tribute to those women and girls we’ve lost from Indigenous communities, and to honor those we have hope will one day return home. October 4th is chosen to honor the lives of over 4,000 Indigenous women tragically taken from their loved ones, most often with little awareness of the circumstances between 1980 to 2016.
This day is meant to raise awareness about that and of the ongoing violence, at significantly higher rates toward Indigenous women and girls than any other demographic on the continent. With awareness comes greater hope and opportunity to get to the root of all the issues that encompass these losses. We remain diligent and attentive as a national inquiry is now underway in Canada.
It’s the 10th year of this recognition started by the Sisters In Spirit Vigil (SIS) organization which, along with an idea begun by artist Jaime Black for public displays of red dresses to represent missing and murdered Indigenous women, includes marches and candlelight vigils in many towns and cities across the country.
Last year I hung my red dress under my weeping willow tree. This year I hung a dress in a location that holds the memory of many women. The entire effort took some interesting legwork and cost me some scratches and torn clothing, but I wanted to speak for them. I wanted them to know we remember, I wanted them to know they are loved.
I held out my tobacco offering and prayers and hung up the dress while a friend took pictures of my appeal for awareness. He edited out the hanging stand, lending an ethereal effect. It seemed to make the dress feel free or freed.
Within this all, I send my love and hope for all our grandmothers, mothers, aunties, sisters, and our daughters…
(click or scroll over photos to see entire picture)
Update October 6th: Photographer Darren Quarin drove by the farm and found that the chair had been thrown off the hill it was photographed on and the red dress was nowhere to be found…