Red Dress Day recognizes National Day of Awareness for MMIWG

Minister Caroline Wawzonek in past years has hung a red dress on her porch to recognize MMIWG. (Photo courtesy of Caroline Wawzonek.)

Red dresses were raised across the country on May 5 to recognize the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).

One of those hanging a red dress outside her house was Caroline Wawzonek, minister of status of women.

“I remember two years ago, the first time I saw people doing that, I did not know why they were doing it, I didn’t understand and I was fairly involved and aware of what was happening with the national inquiry,” she says.

The REDress Project was started by Manitoba-based Métis artist, Jaime Black, as a visual reminder of those who have been lost.

Wawzonek says this years Red Dress Day served as a learning opportunity for her children.

“By coming home and hanging up a dress in my front yard, I was able to have a conversation with my kids about why I was doing that,” she says.

The Native Women’s Association of the NWT told CKLB the organization will be holding a National Day of Awareness later in May.

Delay on the action plan

The territorial government yet to release its Action Plan as part of the National Inquiry, which was initially scheduled for May 2021.

Wawzonek says there’s more engagement being completed before the plan can be released, adding fall 2021 is the new likely timeline.

The federal government has also not released its Action Plan which was scheduled for June 2020. The federal government blamed the delay on COVID-19.

But Carolyn Bennett, minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, did release a statement for Red Dress Day.

“On Red Dress Day we reflect, grieve, and continue our work together towards ending this ongoing national tragedy,” she said.

However, she did not use the word genocide in the release.


About the Author

Luke Carroll
Luke Carroll is a journalist originally from Brockville, Ont. He has previously worked as a reporter and editor in Ottawa, Halifax and New Brunswick. Luke is a graduate of Carleton University's bachelor of journalism program. If you have a story idea, feel free to send him an email at