Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada has launched a new project honouring Missing and Murdered Inuit women, girls and 2SLGBTQ+ people.
The national Inuit organization for women has launched the Red Amauti project, which will fund the creation of an amauti for each of the four regions of Inuit Nunangat: Nunavut, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut and Inuvialuit.
The project is being funded using federal funds earmarked for commemoration projects through the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Rebecca Kudloo, the president of Pauktuutit, said the project hopes to emphasize the violence that Inuit women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people continue to experience today.
"We have the highest rates of violence in the country and I think we need to keep pushing to eliminate that violence," she said.
The amauti is a traditional Inuit women's parka used for carrying infants, Kudloo said. The design of the amauti differs across Inuit Nunangat, with some using different colours and embellishments.
The "Red Amauti" has become a symbol of remembrance of the Inuit women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people who have been lost to violence.
The project also aims to emphasize the role of systemic challenges that increase the likelihood of violence. According to Kudloo, more needs to be done to address challenges caused by the housing crisis, lack of resources to support healing and limited access to emergency shelters and other safe spaces.
"I think we all need to remind people to be more aware that some of our women are still in danger, especially with the lack of shelters in the communities that we've been pushing for," she said.
The final amautiit will be displayed in community centres across Canada, Kudloo said, but Pauktuutit is yet to determine in exactly which ones.
Kudloo said seamstresses who are interested in designing the amautiit can submit their bid till Sept. 10. The seamstresses selected for the Red Amauti project will have until January 2022 to complete their projects.