More needs to be done to keep Indigenous women, girls safe

The Manitoba government said the Legislative Building would be lit in red. The province hoped the move would “encourage dialogue.”

As Canada marked Red Dress Day, a Manitoba Grand Chief called on all levels of government to do more to keep Indigenous women and girls safe in Manitoba, and across Canada.

“It is essential that governments of all levels work with First Nations on an urgent basis on this issue, as it is indeed a national emergency,” Southern Chiefs’ Organization Grand Chief Jerry Daniels said in a Friday media release.

Daniels released that statement on Friday, as May 5 is Red Dress Day in Canada, a National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People, and a day that Daniels said holds a lot of meaning in Winnipeg, and across this province.

Many held up signs while taking part in a ceremony and Round Dance at the corner of Portage and Main on Friday to commemorate Red Dress Day. Dave Baxter/Local Journalism Initiative/Winnipeg Sun

“Manitoba is ground zero when it comes to MMIWG2S+,” Daniels said. “We continue to wonder about the whereabouts of so many of our loved ones, while we also seek justice for those who have been taken due to violence.

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“I stand with all those impacted by the loss of a loved one due to violence. I am especially thinking of the children who have been left behind. I extend prayers as they continue to mourn their losses.”

On Friday, Manitoba’s PC Government said in a media release that the Manitoba Legislative Building would be lit in a “symbolic red” on Friday, and that the province hoped the move would “encourage dialogue and bring attention to this issue.”

“In Canada, Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ peoples are disproportionately targeted for violence more so than any other group,” the province said in a statement.

“Today, we remember those who have lost their lives to gender-based violence, and we honour the healing journeys of families and communities that live with the ongoing grief of losing a loved one.”

This story was originally published in The Winnipeg SunIt is republished under a Creative Commons license as part of the Local Journalism Initiative.

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