Red Dress Day marked in Regina with art exhibit opening, event at Friendship Centre
Stacey Desjarlais says she honours events like Red Dress Day to speak up for her daughter and others overlooked by the justice system.
In November 2021, Desjarlais went to check on her daughter Brooke. After getting the landlord to open the apartment, she found Brooke dead.
Brooke was 25 and was studying to be an electrician. She was Desjarlais's only daughter and best friend.
Desjarlais is still unsure what happened and said she hasn't been given any explanations by the police.
"These investigations aren't handled properly and their victims of being blamed for their hardships and the lifestyles they live in, some of the bad decisions they've made. And I believe that's what happened to my daughter." said Desjarlais.
On Friday, Desjarlais was invited to the ribbon cutting for the new Heart Spirits Project, an art exhibit that features 200 handmade clay hearts, in the Cumberland art gallery at the Legislative Building in Regina. The opening was timed to mark this year's Red Dress Day.
The art exhibit will be open to the public at the Legislative Building throughout the month of May.
Red Dress Day honours missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. It has been happening since 2010 and was inspired by Métis artist Jaime Black, who made an exhibition called the REDdress Project. Black hung hundreds of red dresses to represent missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada.
FSIN Third Vice Chief Aly Bear was in Regina for the opening of the Heart Spirits Project exhibit, but also to talk with Minister Responsible for the Status of Women Laura Ross about securing resources for Red Eagle Lodge, a facility that will offer front-line programs and services for First Nations women.
"We're hoping to have some access to justice in that space and some access to culture within that space," Bear said.
The Newo-Yotina Friendship Centre in Regina honoured Red Dress Day with an event featuring Indigenous dancers, speakers and food.
Morningstar Paskimin, a 12-year-old from Thunderchild First Nation, was happy to be there to dance jingle to represent her culture and help families get through the day.