The Miywasin Friendship Centre will be hosting its annual Red Dress Awareness Day event May 7 from 1-4 p.m. at the Kin Coulee band-shell.
Red Dress Awareness Day was established in 2010 by Indigenous artist Jamie Black in an effort to draw attention to the disproportionate rates at which Indigenous people in Canada go missing and experience violence compared to non-Indigenous peoples.
While the day focuses on raising awareness about missing and murdered Indigenous peoples, it is also a day dedicated to education about Indigenous issues, culture sharing and the promotion of reconciliation.
“I think there’s a lot of Indigenous cultural aspects people might not know,” Brenda Mercer, Miywasin cultural co-ordinator, told the News. “This is just one way for us to highlight and encourage people to come out and learn more.”
Mercer encourages all interested parties to attend the event, Indigenous or not.
“I think that Indigenous issues have come to the spotlight more since last year, when they found the 215 (bodies of murdered Indigenous children on the site of a former Kamloops residential school),” Mercer said. “I know a lot of people were really upset (and asked) ‘What can I do to help?’ So, Red Dress Awareness Day is another way for us to advocate and support and just (spread) information.”
The drop-in event will feature several Indigenous speakers, as well as music from the Sorrel Rider Drummers and Miywasin singers. Food trucks will be on-site.
KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News