Curve Lake First Nation holds red ribbon campaign to honour Cileana Taylor

Curve Lake First Nation is holding a red ribbon campaign for the national day of awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and in special honour of Cileana Marie Taylor.

Community displays red ribbons for MMIWG national day of remembrance

Curve Lake First Nation is raising awareness of MMIWG2S by displaying red ribbons around the community. (Rhiannon Johnson/CBC)

The road into Curve Lake First Nation, near Peterborough, Ont., is long and lined with hydro poles, and each is tied with a red ribbon. 

The community is encouraging residents to wear red and add red ribbons to their trees or porches for the National Day of Awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls on May 5.

The campaign is also in honour of Cileana Marie Taylor, a 22-year-old community member who died in February. In September 2020, Taylor was the victim of an assault that left her in a coma for several months with a severe brain injury.

A 23-year-old man has been charged with aggravated assault and assault causing bodily harm. The community is calling for the charges to be upgraded to at least manslaughter. 

"I watched her grow up," said David Taylor, a relative of Cileana Taylor. 

"I hung out with her across the road and down at the park. She was like a little sister to me. We as a community need to pull together for this."

Cileana Marie Taylor from Curve Lake First Nation died in February after months in a coma following an attack. Her community is still mourning her loss. (Savannah Taylor/Canadian Press)

When he heard about the campaign, he said he struggled to find a red ribbon to tie on his property but found some red fabric and cut it into the shape of a dress to display on his front yard. 

"The red ribbon is the perfect reminder to everyone coming in that we're fed up and something needs to be done," he said. 

David Taylor, a relative of Cileana Taylor, says the community needs to stand together in dealing with her loss. (Rhiannon Johnson/CBC)

Cileana Taylor's family approved the campaign and her sister Savannah Taylor said it was nice to see community members participating. 

Lorenzo Whetung said he knew Cileana Taylor since she was an infant and looked after her when he ran the community's day care centre.

"I believe in this red ribbon campaign because there's so many missing and murdered women," he said.

On the day Taylor died, the community also lost 100-year-old Elder Murray Whetung, Lorenzo's father. 

Red ribbons tied to road signs, hydro poles and trees line Mississauga Street in Curve Lake First Nation to raise awareness of MMIWG2S. (Rhiannon Johnson/CBC)

"I think they were travelling together," Lorenzo Whetung said. 

Curve Lake Chief Emily Whetung said the idea for the red ribbon campaign came from a number of community members who were wondering what they could do to show their support and take action.

Red ribbons are tied along the cemetery fence. (Rhiannon Johnson/CBC)

"I think everyone in our community is hugely impacted by Cileana's passing," she said. 

"It's left a big hole."

She added that the loss has been made more difficult because the community cannot gather for healing due to the pandemic. 

"We're all just coping with it whatever way that we can."


Rhiannon Johnson is an Anishinaabe journalist from Hiawatha First Nation based in Toronto. She has been with CBC since 2017 focusing on Indigenous life and experiences.