Why I Wear Red – updated for 2021

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.

Books I Love: Stories About Bedtime

Do you have a bedtime routine? If you do, it might include stories. Most of my books are good stories for bedtime, but some of my favourite books are stories about bedtime! However you might get ready for bed, what we all have in common is wanting a good night’s sleep. That way, as author Nancy Redd says in Bedtime Bonnet, “we’re all ready for a brand-new day!”

Books in this video:

Sleepytime Playlist

The deep work of Tricia Hersey and The Nap Ministry led me to create a week of videos dedicated to helping our young ones rest so their caregivers can find some rest. The sleepytime playlist currently contains two poems about The Sandman by Paul Laurence Dunbar, two lullabies (one with an art project, one with images from the Hubble Space Telescope images), and the above Books I Love segment. I am grateful for the message of radical rest The Nap Ministry is birthing in the world and I am proud to support this work on Patreon.

Books I Love! Books That Centre BIPOC Characters

I continue to be encouraged by the books being published by BIPOC authors and illustrators and more books centring BIPOC characters. Make no mistake – there need to be more.

Before our days moved pandemically, Bernadette Arthur at A Shared Table asked me to compile a list of picture books by BIPOC authors/illustrators and others that centre BIPOC characters. The family event she was gearing up for was around the theme of raising socially conscious kids. I’m making these resources available in hopes they might be helpful. Please let me know if you find that to be the case. I know I have growth edges and I’m happy to receive constructive criticism on both documents.

Booklist: Great Read-Aloud Books by BIPOC Authors/Illustrators and Others that Centre BIPOC Characters

Raising Socially Conscious Kids: Choosing Picture Books (tips for caregivers who are racialized as white)

Related: In our pandemic times, Bernadette’s currently working with En Conjunto to provide a series of Digital Dine-Ins. I heartily recommend these! The one I attended last night was about raising children to be aware and active changemakers and picture books came up a few times. No surprise, the Digital Dine-In Sue Littleton and I are co-hosting in June is about children’s books.

Books I Love! Mis libros favoritos con palabras en Español

Some of my favourite books have words en Español! I love the art, text, and messages of all of these books and I am so thankful more books in Spanish and other languages are being made more widely available!

What are you favourite books in Spanish?

Books I Love! Surprise Pages

Some of my favourite books have what I call “surprise pages.” These stories have interesting page sizes, holes, or books within books!

What are some of your favourite “surprise pages” books?