Statement from the Minister responsible for Women and Gender Equity Directorate Jeanie McLean on Red Dress Day

The following statement was released by Minister Jeanie McLean:

“On May 5, we observe Red Dress Day. This important occasion was inspired by Métis artist Jaime Black, who in 2010 hung red dresses as part of her REDress Project installation to represent Indigenous lives lost to gender-based violence. Since then, red dresses have become a symbol of the missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit+ people.

“Today is a day of mourning, reflection and commemoration. It is also a call to action. As search efforts for Ramona Peter of Ross River continue, this matter carries even more weight. I am certain that she is in the hearts and minds of many today.

“Making our communities safe remains one of the top priorities of this government. Changing the Story to Upholding Dignity and Justice: Yukon’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit+ People Strategy outlines a path towards effective violence prevention, intervention and crisis response across the Yukon. We are committed to taking part in the National Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People National Action Plan to drive change toward ending marginalization and systemic racism that has allowed violence to spread to the point of becoming a national crisis.

“For far too long, Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit+ people in the Yukon and across Canada have experienced disproportionate levels of violence, and the individuals responsible often go unpunished. This violence is rooted in racism and marginalization of Indigenous people and particularly of Indigenous women. It is the dark legacy of colonialism and it is up to us to dismantle it.

“I encourage all Yukoners to take part in Red Dress Day events such as those organized by the Whitehorse Aboriginal Women’s Circle. It is crucial that we continue to honour the memories of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit+ individuals, and that we educate ourselves on the racialized and gender-based violence that has and continues to affect our communities.

Media contact 

Renée Francoeur
Cabinet Communications

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