Bow Valley High School teaches Red Dress Day Awareness

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Red Dress Day is Thursday, May 5, it is a day set aside to honor missing and murdered Indigenous peoples. It aims to educate and raise awareness about the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, two-spirit people and men.

Red Dress Day was started in 2010 by Métis artist Jamie Black and it was his art installation REDdress that evolved and grew into the annual Red Dress Day.

The grassroots movement is represented by empty robes that create a visual representation of missing persons and acknowledge the pain and loss of families, victims and survivors. The color red was chosen because ‘red’, according to Aboriginal belief, is the only color that spirits can see and has significance in reminding the spirits of missing murdered women and girls to their loved ones.

For the first time, staff and students at Bow Valley High School will participate in meaningful activities leading up to a school-wide march on Thursday, May 5, to raise awareness and recognize red suit.

BVHS organizer and teacher Jenisse Galloway said while this will be the school’s first recognition of Red Dress Day, it won’t be the last. “We’ve been very clear about our intentions, that we want this to be the first year for this to happen, but for it to continue to grow and just become a regular part of our yearly learning at school. So hopefully really build on that and make it bigger and even more impactful every year from now.

Last Wednesday, the entire Bow Valley High School learning community participated in a teaching session on the history of the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People (MMIWG2S). The Meaning of the Red Dress and Moosehide* Campaigns and National Inquiry Findings

Tomorrow, Tuesday May 3, students will receive materials to create symbolic crafts that will be worn or taken with them on the May 5 march. Craft choices will include a beaded red dress pin, a red and decorated felt red dress pin, or an origami red dress pin. Other options will include making a button or tracing their hand and writing a pledge. Of course, many will wear red dresses or other red attire to recognize the day.

Galloway says she hears from her students that families want to participate in the walk on Thursday. “In particular, some of my Aboriginal students have spoken to me saying they’ve mentioned at home that this is happening and they think their parents or family members might want to be a part of it. So we opened it up and I think it would be really great to see some community involvement.

The BVHS march in recognition of Red Dress Day will begin at approximately 1:45 p.m. on Thursday, May 5 on the grounds outside the school. Students, staff and community members will walk the loop around BVHS and the pond bearing symbols honoring MMIWG2S.

*The Moose-Hide Campaign is a movement to end violence against women and children.

Bow Valley High students learn about the history of Red Dress Day and the MMIWG2S problem.

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