Statement by Minister Bennett on Red Dress Day, the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Support line for those impacted by missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people
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Ottawa, Ontario (May 5th, 2021) — The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, issued the following statement for Red Dress Day, the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
"Today, our hearts are with the families and survivors as we mourn and honour Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ (Two Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual plus) people. On Red Dress Day we reflect, grieve, and continue our work together towards ending this ongoing national tragedy.
Indigenous women, girls, 2SLGBTQQIA+ people have the right to be safe in their communities, wherever they live. Decades of activism from families, survivors, Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls brought to light this tragedy and the need for all of us to take action to address the pain and injustice. The National Inquiry's Final Report recommended actions to end the violence through systemic, substantial and transformative change .
Canada's colonial past has had a lasting and negative impact on Indigenous communities. Canada's history, along with sexism, ableism, racism, homophobia, transphobia as well as the actions and inactions of past governments created systemic discrimination and inequities, which must be addressed in order for Indigenous women, girls, 2SLGBTQQIA+ people to be safe wherever they live.
For decades, families, survivors and communities have been demanding justice, healing and concrete actions to stop this tragedy. The National Inquiry called upon all governments – federal, provincial, territorial and Indigenous – to work together to build a National Action Plan that would be effective and accountable. We are truly inspired by the work being done with families and survivors and over 100 Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people as we develop the regional, First Nations, Inuit, Métis, urban, Two Spirit+, and data components of this whole-of-Canada plan.
There is much more work to be done to end violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. Today we encourage everyone in Canada to wear red to honour all the lives lost and those whose lives have been forever changed by violence toward Indigenous women, girls and the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community, and to support families and survivors. Please read, or re-read, Reclaiming Power and Place and the Calls for Justice to raise awareness, broaden your understanding, and to take action. The Government of Canada along with Indigenous, provincial and territorial partners is committed to our work together to bring an end to this tragedy."
For more information, media may contact:
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett,
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
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