We are saddened and disappointed by the vandalism that occurred last weekend near Ladysmith involving the removal of red dresses that were on display along the Island Highway to bring awareness to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). We raise our hands to Chief Roxanne Harris and Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone for coming together to hold ceremony on Saturday, April 17 and for the outpouring of local support to hang more dresses in the community.
The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and Island Health are committed to standing against racism in all its forms and offering culturally safe health services to all First Nations peoples in the region. We understand it is important for us as true community partners to address racism, and to stand in solidarity with those doing the work to address these injustices. We stand in support of the Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith for their courage in bringing to light these issues and engaging the public in awareness and education.
The National Inquiry into MMIWG revealed that persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses are the root cause behind Canada’s staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. The REDress Project was created as a visual reminder of the staggering number of missing or murdered Indigenous women across Canada who are no longer with us.
On Friday April 23, 2021 at 1:00 p.m., Stz’uminus First Nation community members, along with FNHA and Island Health staff held a small outdoor ceremony in Stz’uminus territory to hang more red dresses along the Island Highway. We encourage members of the public to also consider hanging a red dress or t-shirt at your home or place of business, and to encourage your friends and family members to do the same.
For more information, please visit the following links:
- National Inquiry into MMIWG https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/
- The REDress Project https://www.jaimeblackartist.com/exhibitions/
- The Lil’ Red Dress Project https://lilreddressproject.ca/
- CBC News - Missing & Murdered: The Unsolved Cases of Indigenous Women and Girls https://www.cbc.ca/missingandmurdered/
In health and wellness,
Chief Executive Officer
First Nations Health Authority
President & Chief Executive Officer