Those who frequent the trails along Saskatchewan Drive may have already noticed this weekend a series of red dresses hanging up at the entrance of the hiking trail closest to the entrance of the long road, off of King Street.

The dresses are part of an installation by the Public Service Alliance of Canada, and are being displayed symbolically for The REDress Project, which was launched originally in 2014 by Jaime Black, a Métis artist. The installation art project involved collecting and hanging 600 red dresses symbolizing the hundreds of Indigenous women and girls whose lives were stolen.

red dress

PSAC’s National Indigenous People’s Circle and National Human Rights Council Indigenous Working Group have partnered with Jaime Black to develop the Red Dress Pin in solidarity with all the Indigenous women who have been a victim or survivor of violence.

On National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21, PSAC is distributing Red Dress Pins to raise awareness on the national issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada, and to urge the government to bolster the efforts of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).

Indigenous women and girls in Canada are disproportionately affected by violence and are over-represented in the rate of women that are murdered and go missing. The rate of homicide of Indigenous women is five times higher than non-Indigenous women.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) began drawing attention to the issue of violence against Indigenous women in 2005. They assembled a database on 582 missing and murdered women and girls.

In 2015, the RCMP reported that 1,815 Indigenous women were murdered between 1980 and 2014.

In response to numerous calls for action from organizations such as NWAC and the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA), the Government of Canada launched an entirely independent National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) in September 2016.

Find more information HERE. More photos can be found below.