Students Honour MMIWG with Red Dress Ceremony

North Queens Community School’s Grade 9 Citizenship Education Class Recognized Canada’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) with a Red Dress Ceremony at Miriam Hunt Park in Caledonia on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2019. Many people attended the ceremony including Chief Deborah Robinson, MLA Kim Masland, Mayor David Dagley, Coordinator Mi’kmaq Student Services Rod Francis, and NQCS Principal Jennifer Weare, regional SSRCE staff, students, families, the media and more.

The evening consisted of a sacred fire, traditional Mi’kmaq songs and drumming, as well as student performances, speeches and a special moment of reflection with music by the elementary school choir. It was a time for remembrance. Before the event, Grade 9 student Ira Reinhart-Smith remarked “we hope that the community will join us as we share our discoveries and pause to honour the many women and girls in our country who are missing or have been murdered. Helping others to understand is our goal”.

The students did an excellent job not only planning and running the ceremony, but their efforts to raise awareness throughout their community with dress installations and their work in researching the issue went above and beyond. “Their leadership and voices are an example of how we can all make a difference. The knowledge and understanding that these young men and women have will positively impact their communities and fellow students as they continue to move forward in their lives,” says Coordinator Mi’kmaq Student Services Rod Francis.

We are all incredibly proud of this Grade 9 class and their efforts to create conversation and raise awareness about Canada’s MMIWG.

To see pictures from the event, click here.

Know the Facts – Compiled by the Grade 9 Students
This is a summary of our key findings. Please note that we have researched multiple sources and have found that there is great difference in the information presented. It was complicated to consolidate the information
because each report considers mixed periods of time and sources of information. There is considerable discrepancy between government reports and the findings of multiple rights movements. The fundamental finding is
that the number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada is disproportionately high when compared to the non-Aboriginal female population.

• NWAC’s research indicates that, between 2000 and 2008, Aboriginal women and girls represented approximately 10% of all female homicides in Canada. However, Aboriginal women made up only 3% of the female
population. Just over half of the cases (55%) involved women and girls under the age of 31, with 17% of women and girls 18 years of age or younger. Only 8% of cases involved women over the age of 45.
• Aboriginal women are almost three times more likely to be killed by a stranger than non-Aboriginal women are.
• Our review of multiple sources shows that there are 1200 confirmed cases of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in Canada. However, several sources point out other cases which have not been recognized by authorities which bring the numbers closer to 4000 in total.
• Statistics from 2012 indicate that Indigenous women make up 4% of our Canadian population yet 16% of all of the nation’s missing and murdered cases are indigenous women. The numbers are higher when you consider
the girls impacted as well.
• Some statistics report that the homicide rate for indigenous women and girls is 7 times higher than that of non-indigenous women and girls.
• According to Statistics Canada’s 2004 General Social Survey (GSS), Aboriginal women experience much higher rates of violence than non- Aboriginal women.
• Statistics Canada reported that Aboriginal women are more likely to experience more severe and potentially life-threatening forms of family violence than non-Aboriginal women. There is a need for more research and awareness about other forms of violence—particularly violence perpetrated by strangers or acquaintances.

This issue impacts all Aboriginal women and girls
~ First Nations, Métis and Inuit ~