May 5, 2023

Today is Red Dress Day: What Action Will You Take?

The UCalgary Psychology Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Blog

May 5th is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and girls, also known as Red Dress Day. On this day, our solidarity is with Indigenous peoples across what is now known as Canada. We recognize the settler colonial roots of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) genocide. We also recognize that the frequent violence against Indigenous Peoples, especially women, girls, and Two-Spirit folks, and the criminal justice system’s unwillingness to respond to these human rights violations, are the legacy of Canada’s history of colonization, genocide, and devaluing of Indigenous life.


In particular today, we send our thoughts and care to the Indigenous peoples in Treaty 1 territory as they continue to grieve the loss of Rebecca Contois (O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nation), Morgan Harris (Long Plain First Nation), Marcedes Myran (Long Plain First Nation), Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe (Buffalo Woman), and Linda Mary Beardy (Lake St. Martin First Nation), along with the others whose names we do not yet know. We also stand with their communities who are demanding that the Winnipeg Police search for these women, so that they may return home. 


As individuals and as a committee, it is our responsibility to honour our treaty obligations and push for implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action and the National Inquiry into MMIWG 231 Calls for Justice. As a group located at a university, this includes honoring and advocating for self-determination in research and scholarship, and actively working to ensure that our teaching, research, and practice reflect the peoples in whose homelands we reside , and where we are fortunate to be welcomed as guests.


However, it is not now, nor has it ever been, enough to simply send our thoughts and care to those grieving. It is the responsibility of settlers to this land, particularly those who have benefited the most from the unearned privileges of colonization, to advance reconciliation through action.


To show action, here is what different members of our committee are doing today, as they are able:


In closing, we encourage you to choose one thing you will do today to demonstrate your commitment to advancing reconciliation and justice.