Recognizing Canada's missing and murdered Indigenous women
Shelly Dene went missing from Edmonton in July 2013, just three years after going back to school and earning her high school diploma. She was 25 years old. Her family last heard from investigators in 2014, when police told them they had exhausted all tips.
Dene is one of more than 1,200 missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada who will be represented by an installation of red dresses on campus Dec. 3 to 7.
Metis artist Jamie Black created The REDress Project eight years ago as an "aesthetic response" to the staggering number of Indigenous women affected by violence — those who are gone but not forgotten.
Each dress honours their memories and signifies our support for these women and their families.
Jean Dube, Indigenous Student Advisor, Chinook Lodge Resource Centre, first heard about the project on the news. The powerful display had an immediate impact, so she did some investigating.
"I started reading the stories, I heard the numbers and I wondered why no one seemed to be concerned," she says. "This is a crisis."
This is the fourth year SAIT is participating in the REDress campaign — but Dube says it's more important now than ever.
"We — Canada — has committed to an inquiry, an investigation, but it's been stop and start," she says. "Who's going to find out what happened to these women? How are we going to ensure everyone is treated with equal respect and concern?"
The purpose of the display is to make people ask questions so they can gain an understanding and be empowered to act, says Dube.
"When people see the dresses, in particular our students, I want them to be moved to take action — to stand up for every woman and female child and say this kind of violence is wrong and this crisis needs to end."
Create a paper doll in honour of Canada's missing and murdered Indigenous women at Chinook Lodge Resource Centre, 11 am to 1 pm, Dec. 3 to 7.