While violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people has always been a part of colonialism in Canada, the phenomenon of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGTBQQIA people (MMIWG2S+) generally addresses the deaths and disappearances of thousands of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGTBQQIA people over the past forty years or so. In 2015, after forty years of activism lead by Indigenous women, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a national inquiry into MMIWG2S+, and in 2019, this inquiry released its final report in which concluded Canada was guilty of genocide for failing to protect Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGTBQQIA people from violence. As of now, the government of Canada has failed to offer an official response to the findings, including how it will address the 231 Calls for Justice identified by the inquiry.
For more about the National Inquiry, please see mmiwg-ffada.ca
The REDress project, which involves the hanging of red dresses in spaces, began as an art installation by Métis artist Jamie Black on the campus of the University in Winnipeg in 2011 and has since been replicated, with the encouragement of Black in communities across Canada. The empty red dresses are meant to signify the losses of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGTBQQIA people to colonial violence. For more information about Jamie Black and the origins of the ReDress, please see jaimeblackartist.com/exhibitions
Since 2019, Brock University has hosted an installation of red dresses around campus and a public event raising awareness about missing and murdered Indigenous, organized around February 14th in solidarity with the annual Women’s Memorial March held in Vancouver since 1991. For more information about the Women’s Memorial March, please see womensmemorialmarch.wordpress.com
Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQ+ persons are not statistics, they are the hearts of communities and Nations and deserve far more support and resources than they have and are receiving in the wake of the Missing and Murdered Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit epidemic and genocide. The MMIWG Report, which was formally released on June 3rd, 2019, works to hold those in power accountable, but also offers insight on Indigenous culture, values, language, and traditions and the importance of preserving and honouring Indigenous spaces and values. The Nations Inquiry’s Final Report, Reclaiming Power and Place, exposes the vast human rights violations that are the foundation for the systemic violence occurring in Canada against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQ+ people. The Report calls for transformative justice and shares the truth of family and community members as well as incorporates Calls for Justice directed toward Canada’s government, legal system, social services, and all colonial institutions. What can we do as students, staff, or faculty? As settlers or newcomers on this land? Read more on the report, available for anyone to read and download for free.