May 5th is Red Dress Day, also known as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit People.
Join CEIU in supporting MP Leah Gazan's call on the federal government to set-up a "Red Dress Alert" to notify the public when an Indigenous woman, girl, or Two-Spirit person goes missing.
Add your name to our letter to Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino below and then find your MPs contact information and send them a copy, letting them know about your concern as a constituent.
Dear Hon. Marco Mendicino,
I am writing this letter with a great deal of concern regarding the epidemic of violence against Indigenous women, girls and two spirit people in Canada. Every year in Canada, thousands of Indigenous women and girls are reported missing but the cases go unreported, unresolved or unsolved due to legal barriers and widespread discrimination. I am asking that you use your voice as an elected leader to bring not just continued awareness to Parliament but also to open a path for repair and resolution.
The crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is part of a broader global crisis femicide but Indigenous women are disproportionately victimized by gender-based violence.
- Did you know that half of all Indigenous women have been sexually abused, assaulted or raped in their lifetime? Canada’s National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls equates the violence to “a race-based genocide of Indigenous Peoples, including First Nations, Inuit and Metis, which especially targets women, girls and 2SLGBT2QIA people”. (Final Report June 2019)
- Did you also know that most offenders targeting Indigenous women are non-Indigenous perpetrators? It is difficult and very uncomfortable in a present-day context to accept that the spectrum of violence aimed at Indigenous women is part of the lasting impacts of colonization sustained by systemic discrimination and harmful policies against Indigenous people in our justice systems.
- Did you also know that you MP (name), can make a difference in addressing this crisis by simply doing what you were elected to do? By being the voice of your constituents, you can move change in the right direction.
To this end, I am strongly encouraging you:
- To request funding for the creation and maintenance of a “Red Dress Alert” for missing Indigenous women as requested by NDP Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre Leah Gazan in her letter to Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino on Friday February 17, 2023. I strongly support establishing a system that would send the public a phone notification when an Indigenous woman, girl or two spirit person goes missing like the Amber Alert system. The creation of this alert would fall under the 231 Calls for Justice, 5.5, 5.9, 9.7, and 15.6.
- Hold the authorities and police accountable for their response times when notified that an Indigenous person has gone missing. The ongoing malfeasance that is the failure to respond, investigate and prosecute offenders in cases involving Indigenous women because of profiling, stereotyping and discrimination amounts to a pattern of denial of equal services. This must end. Your support and voice can help end this.
- Finally, hold our justice system accountable for the lack of data collection on violence against Indigenous women and the cases of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Ask them why the numbers aren’t readily available and what are they trying to hide by suppressing data collection and access.
When you took office, you swore an oath to all Canadians. Indigenous people are the first Canadians and yet their quality of life continues to be lower than the average Canadian. As more atrocities inflicted on our Indigenous Peoples due to colonization are unearthed, the most important thing we should be providing these women is safety and it needs to happen immediately. Not enough is being done today. There is still not enough protection.
I acknowledge and appreciate the steps already taken by the Government of Canada, including an investment of over $200 million to Indigenous communities to prevent gender-based violence, support survivors and their families, and to foster a more responsive legal and justice system. This money is a start, but it is not enough. Without accountability and the sustained intervention of leaders like yourself, Indigenous women are still at risk every day in this country. There is no way this should be happening in 2023.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I look forward to receiving a favourable response from you on this matter.