A red construction paper dress with stripes in a window to raise awareness for Missing and Murdered Women, Girls, and 2-Spirit People.

May 5th is Canada’s National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (Red Dress Day), and the Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls National Day of Action in the U.S.

A call to action for a U.S. National Day of Awareness is here.

“How can we help?”

When we don’t know how to start helping someone, listening to their stories is a very good place to start. In this video, I talk about my favourite books written and illustrated by, with, or about Indigenous Women and Girls.

Resources

I recognize talking about MMIWG2S with kids is not easy. Here are some resources for learning, art projects, books, and tips for getting started. Please note that these resources are for caregivers and educators, as the content may not be appropriate for all ages.

Books in the video

2021 Update

Amber, a white woman with dark curly hair sits in front of a cinderblock wall. She wears red glasses and a red apron over a navy tee shirt.

I also wear red…because I have participated in the erasure of Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit persons. I was taught that my Great Great Grandmother was a “Choctaw Indian Princess.” I learned in June, 2020 that she was Scottish and born in Indian Territory, Oklahoma. The name of the region speaks to the rich heritage of Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole nations who have lived there and who were forcibly removed from those lands by the U.S. government. My generational wealth increased when my family received those lands. “I can’t be racist, I’ve got an Indian princess in my family tree” is yet another false narrative white body supremacy uses to cognitively distance white people from our racist behaviours and beliefs, and the ways we benefit from the peril of others. It kept me from leaning into and learning from my family’s past, from being silent when I should listen, and from speaking up when I see the truth. It erased my sense of rage over what was happening to MMIWG2S and left me with a sense of sadness that was more palatable to my whiteness. I’m done with my sweet tea. This year, I wear red with more purpose, more rage, and a (for now) better understanding of my place in raising awareness.

2 thoughts on “Why I Wear Red – updated for 2021

  1. Do you know Melanie Florence’s book “Missing Nimana”? I’ve heard her read a couple a times in Hamilton. Excellent Indigenous Author of Children’s books…also love her “Stolen Words”.

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