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Statement from MHA Lela Evans on Red Dress Day for MMIWG2S


For Immediate Release

5 May, 2023


Today is Red Dress Day, a very important day to bring awareness of all Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2 Spirit People. We look at the empty garments hanging in windows, in public spaces, that symbolize the lives that have been lost. We can’t back away from this image, we must continue to show the horrible truth of how many Indigenous women, girls, and 2 spirit people we have lost due to injustices and hate.


Red Dress Day honours all of the Indigenous mothers, daughters, aunts, sisters, grandmothers, nieces, and cousins who are gone, leaving an absence in their families and in their communities.


MMIWG Inquiry’s final report was released in 2019, and included 231 calls to justice and calls for change for our Indigenous people. This report found Indigenous women and girls are twelve times more likely to be murdered or go missing than any other group in Canada. That is 1200%. In a Statistics Canada report completed last year, it states that 63% of Indigenous women have experienced violence and nearly half have expressed sexual assault.


The genocide of Indigenous women, girls, and 2 spirit people is still occurring around the country. Just this week, the head of the Native Women’s Association of Canada says it is clear that there is an ongoing emergency, even after nearly four years since the final MMIWG2S report was released. Despite increased awareness, Indigenous women, girls, and 2 spirit people are still facing a crisis of hate and violence.


Words and awareness are good, but we need concrete action to truly end this genocide. In my District of Torngat Mountains, entirely made up of Indigenous communities, we see a constant lack of support from government. From our communities having the highest cost of fuel, oil, and food in the province, to the shocking rates of incarcerations and suicide, higher than those on the island, our communities and people are not receiving reconciliation.


If government is serious about the reconciliation of Indigenous people in this province, they would ensure that the social determinants of health are addressed. This includes access to affordable food, access to quality education, access to both physical and mental health supports, and access to affordable housing. It is only until these are addressed that we can truly work towards ending this crisis for Indigenous women, girls, and 2 spirit people.


It wasn’t until Indigenous people started raising their voices that government took these cries for help seriously. I will continue to raise my voice and bring awareness for Indigenous people in this province, and over the country.


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For further information, contact Eddy St. Coeur, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), or eddystcoeur@gov.nl.ca


NR 05052023 Statement from MHA Lela Evans on Red Dress Day for Missing and Murdered Indige
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