The REDress project:
speaks for the hundreds, possibly thousands, of Indigenous women and girls who have been murdered or disappeared during the past four decades. The red dresses fluttering at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere are an eerie reminder of a prevalent violence.
. . . red is the only colour spirits could see. . . So (red) is really a calling back of the spirits of these women and allowing them a chance to be among us and have their voices heard through their family members and community.
Jaime Black, creator of the REDress project, (Métis)
More on the REDress Project:
“These Haunting Red Dresses Memorialize Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women: Artist Jaime Black says the REDress Project is an expression of her grief for thousands of Native victims,” Smithsonian Magazine
Anne Bolen, “A Place for the Taken: The REDress Project Gives a Voice to Missing Indigenous Women,” Spring 2019 / Vol. 20 No. 1, American Indian
The missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) epidemic affects Indigenous peoples in Canada and the United States, including the First Nations, Inuit, Métis (FNIM), and Native American communities It has been described as a Canadian national crisis and a Canadian genocide. A corresponding mass movement in the U.S. and Canada works to raise awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) through organized marches, community meetings, the building of databases, local city council meetings, tribal council meetings and domestic violence trainings for police.
For more on MMIW and MMIWG, see:
Jennifer Brant, “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada,” Canadian Encyclopedia, lasted edited July 2020
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has drawn attention to figures from Statistics Canada documenting high rates of violence against Indigenous women. For example, Indigenous women 15 years and older were 3.5 times more likely to experience violence than non-Indigenous women, according to the 2004 General Social Survey. Violence against Indigenous women and girls is not only more frequent but also more severe. Between 1997 and 2000, the homicide rate for Indigenous women was nearly seven times higher than the rate for non-Indigenous women.
Brant, “Missing and Murdered“
The MMIWG movement is active within the United States through events such as hosting REDress installations; the engaging of lawmakers to pass legislation; a national day of awareness (May 5 — “wear red”),; the work of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center | (niwrc.org); and local/tribal initiatives .