Observations from Bishop John for Red Dress Day, May 5
(Photo by Sam Javanrouh for the REDress Project)
“Red Dress Day” is the shorthand designating the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit People.
We all have a tendency to abbreviate terms whenever possible; in this case I try not to, because the shorthand term “Red Dress Day”can become a symbol that obscures the reality.
If you have spent time with Indigenous, Inuit or Métis friends it is possible they may share their experiences of loss and grief. For some those experiences will include Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit People.
This is a National Day of Awareness. There is no single or “right” way to commemorate the day. Whatever you might do (a service, a book study or the hanging of red dresses in public spaces) is really only the start not a completion of the work. Awareness is the beginning of the journey.
The attached article, “Beyond Red Dress Day: Seven calls to Action for Indigenous allies” was written by Brielle Morgan in 2021 and the calls to action are very relevant.
A prayer (adapted from resources for this day produced for the Anglican Church of Canada) for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit People:
Creator, we give you thanks for all you are and all you bring to us for our visit within your creation.
For many their visit to your creation ended through violence and we don’t know where they currently lay.
In Jesus, you place the Gospel in the Centre of this Sacred Circle through all of which all creation is related.
We remember those Missing and Murdered Women and Girls and Two Spirited People who suffered.
We take time to remember they are Our Relations, as all creation is related.
We remember their family members and friends and the heaviness of loss and grief that they have carried for so many years.
Creator, in Jesus, you showed us the way to live a generous and compassionate life.
Give us your strength to live together with respect, care for one another and commit ourselves to providing safety for all.
May we grow in your spirit, and support all our relations, for you are God, now and forever. Amen.