Through pelting rain, more than 50 people in Penticton came out to show their commitment to remembering and honouring the man Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirited Individuals.
Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike participated in the Red Dress Day walk. The sound of hand drums led the way from the Ooknakane Friendship Centre to Gyro Park, where dignitaries spoke about the importance of the day.
The red dress has become a symbol that embodies the lives lost and to serve as a powerful reminder of the work that still lies ahead to achieve justice and equity for all.
“Many North American Indigenous peoples believe that red is the only colour spirits can see, and we wear red as a way of calling the spirits of the missing and murdered women and girls back to their loved ones,” said Ooknakane Friendship Centre executive director Shauna Fox.
Mayor Julius Bloomfield, MLA Dan Ashton and MP Richard Cannings all expressed their support, both personally and on behalf of their respective levels of government, for recognizing the many lost Indigenous lives and for the need to move towards a more inclusive future society.
According to the final report on the National Inquiring into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirited individuals have 12 times the likelihood of going missing or being murdered.
More than six out of every 10 Indigenous women have experienced physical assault, and Indigenous women are almost six times more likely than non-Indigenous women to have ever been under the legal responsibility of the government, with 81 per cent of all those who were having experienced violent victimization.