Winnipeg's MMIW Day of Remembrance marked by red dresses, flowers

A national day of remembrance for missing and murdered indigenous women is prompting some Winnipeggers to display red dresses as a symbol of solidarity across the city.

National Day of Remembrance for murdered, missing aboriginal women held in Winnipeg

Rally for missing & murdered aboriginal women

7 years ago
Duration 3:24
Gatherings in Winnipeg and around the country hope to bring the matter to the forefront of the election campaign

Hundreds of Winnipeggers gathered on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislative Building Legislature to mark a national day of remembrance for missing and murdered indigenous women.

Sunday marks MMIW National Day of Remembrance across the country, with gatherings in many major Canadian cities.
Among attendees at Winnipeg's MMIW Day of Remembrance was Gerri Pangman, 41, whose aunt Jennifer Johnston was killed in 1990. Pangman's sister, Jennifer McPherson, was later killed in April 2013. (Chris Glover/CBC)

In Winnipeg, several events were planned, including the Manitoba Legislative Building gathering, where hundreds of carnations were placed in the pattern of a butterfly, symbolizing the transformation of women.

Organizers said the display was meant to highlight the fact that some women are killed before they can take that journey of transformation.

Among attendees was Gerri Pangman, 41, whose aunt Jennifer Johnston was killed in 1990. 

Pangman's sister, Jennifer McPherson, was later killed in April 2013.

Jade Turner performed at the event, singing the song Worth. 

Turner's male cousin was killed, and she told the crowd violence against all people needed to be stopped — not just women. 

Red dresses pop up all over Winnipeg

Several Winnipeggers also took part in the REDress Project on Sunday, a national movement that has people display red dresses for 24 hours as a symbol of solidarity with the fight for justice for MMIW.
Red dresses were hung outside at the Alexander Docks in Winnipeg on Sunday, near a memorial for Tina Fontaine, a 15-year-old girl whose body was pulled from the Red River last year. Her homicide remains unsolved. (Thomas Asselin/CBC)

"Every single time, I still get goose bumps and chills from working with these dresses," said Jaimie Black, a Metis artist who started the project five years ago in Winnipeg. "I've been working with these dresses for a very long time, and every single time I put up an installation, I feel like someone's there, and I turn around, and it's a dress, but it feels like someone's standing there."

Black said as an indigenous woman, she doesn't feel safe in Winnipeg.

"I know I've come home at night sometimes feeling like I might not make it home, and I know that in other areas of the city, that's way more pronounced," she said. "It's way more dangerous to be going out after dark, and I don't think any woman should feel that terrified to go out after dark."

Black said she hopes the campaign sparks conversations about possible solutions to violence against indigenous women.


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