Nanaimo Christian School students hung a red dress outside their school and also shared written messages about the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. (Photo submitted)

Nanaimo Christian School students hung a red dress outside their school and also shared written messages about the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. (Photo submitted)

Red dresses around Nanaimo a call for action on missing and murdered Indigenous women

Snuneymuxw Chief says the issue is a ‘human rights crisis’

Red Dress Day is an occasion to nor only feel sorrow for missing and murdered Indigenous women, but also to ask for action.

Snuneymuxw First Nation said in a press release Wednesday, May 5, that its members walk in solidarity with missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

A press release from the First Nation said Canada’s laws and public policy don’t integrate “preventative, rehabilitative or restorative” mechanisms proportionate to the issue of the missing and murdered women and Snuneymuxw Chief Mike Wyse called it a “human rights crisis.”

“Snuneymuxw First Nation honours the life of Indigenous women and girls, and takes a moment of silence to remember those that have crossed over to be with ancestors, and the courage of the survivors,” Wyse said in the release. “We lift up their place in our culture.”

Snuneymuxw Coun. Erralyn Joseph called on the Canadian government to address “the challenges and shortcomings” with developing a national action plan around missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and urged both the provincial and federal governments to move forward on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

“These are important transitionary steps out of the colonial atrocities that contribute to MMIWG, and implement traditional values, jurisdiction and authority,” Joseph said in the release. “We must do this now so that our young people and the generations unborn have a fundamental chance at life.”

Nanaimo schools recognized the National Day of Awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls as a teaching and learning opportunity. Red dresses or pieces of related artwork were hung up and displayed outside several schools and SD68 facilities along with messages of love, hope and awareness, noted social media posts shared by Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools.

At Nanaimo Christian School, high school students discussed missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and hung up a red dress. The school shared messages from several students.

“Though Canada strives for reconciliation from our First Nations communities, our police forces and government fail to realize the consistent pattern of missing and murdered Indigenous women,” wrote Arden Haseltine. “Even to say that this isn’t systematic racism would be a strike in that field itself.”

Jasmin Naylor wrote about the importance of May 5 in bringing awareness to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and their cases which she said have been “thrown aside” by police and government over decades.

“At NCS, we have hung a red dress in the trees in front of our school to show that every Indigenous woman is seen and heard … we as a school community care and will continue to raise awareness on this issue,” wrote Jasmin Naylor. “Every woman that has disappeared, every woman that has been murdered matters.”

READ ALSO: Red Dress Day honours Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous people

READ ALSO: Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

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