Red dress display, event to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls

MEDIA RELEASE: February 12 2024 – R0018

Empty red dresses hung throughout Brock University, paired with a day of learning on campus, will honour missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people this week.

Organized by Brock’s Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement, the Hadiya’dagénhahs First Nations, Métis and Inuit Student Centre and Niagara College, the initiative will see dresses hung at the University’s main campus and its Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, as well as at Niagara College, from Monday, Feb. 12 to Friday, Feb. 16.

The display is part of the REDress Project, an initiative that began as an art installation by Métis artist Jaime Black at the University of Winnipeg in 2011 to signify the loss of thousands of Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit, lesbian, gay, trans, bisexual, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual (2SLGTBQQIA) people to colonial violence.

Hadiyaˀdagénhahs Director Cindy Biancaniello said seeing the display at Brock each year is a powerful experience.

“We know that the spirits of these people fill the dresses, and our hearts go out to the families who have never found their relatives,” she said.

A related in-person event will be held at Brock’s Pond Inlet on Wednesday, Feb. 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gathering will include songs, a panel discussion, a catered lunch, a jingle dress dance, participatory workshops and further exploration of the day’s significance throughout the afternoon.

Robyn Bourgeois, Brock’s Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement, will lead a workshop that will use faceless dolls to raise awareness of those who are missing or have been murdered.

Bourgeois said the violence is not confined to the past.

“It continues to be important to do this work because Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people continue to be murdered or disappear,” she said.

Bourgeois said she hopes the proceedings will inspire people to take further action.

“While awareness is an essential starting point, action is necessary to create change,” she said. “Coming out to REDress is a great way for folx to learn about what they can do to support this movement.”

Additional information and registration details for the Wednesday, Feb. 14 event can be found on the REDress Day 2024 ExperienceBU page.

Media are invited to attend all portions of the event on Wednesday, Feb. 14, however, the panel discussion may not be filmed.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Doug Hunt, Communications and Media Relations Specialist, Brock University or 905-941-6209

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