Indigenous Women & Girls and Two-Spirit People
Red Dress Display - City Hall Lobby
MAY 2022 - A Red Dress Display has been installed in the City Hall Lobby to increase awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit persons. When visiting the City Hall Lobby, you can find this display on the wall next to the Customer Care Kiosk. The accompanying plaque reads:
This red dress is a tribute to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit persons (those who identify as having both a masculine and feminine spirit).
Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit persons face disproportionate violence, trauma, and exploitation. This is not an Indigenous issue; it's a community issue. We have a collective responsibility for the safety of every member of our community.
The red dress has become a symbol of solidarity with the families of MMIWG2S.
Red Dress Day (May 5)
Red Dress Day, observed annually on May 5, is a National Day of Awareness for Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls & Two-Spirit people (those who identify as having both a feminine and masculine spirit).
Each May 5, individuals and organizations are encouraged to display empty red dresses in public spaces to show support for IWG2S and their families. You can also print and display this Red Dress Decal to increase awareness and demonstrate support.
Virtual Panel Discussion: Creating Safe Spaces for IWG2S
A free event with the City of Saskatoon & Community Partners on identifying ways to support IWG2S in Saskatchewan.
When: Wednesday, May 18, 2022 | 12:00 to 2:00 p.m.
In August 2021, the City of Saskatoon released a report on supporting IWG2S. The report, IWG2S* Coming Home, was developed in response to a directive from City Council to identify options for how the City can respond to the Calls for Justice contained within The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (released by the federal government in 2019). The Coming Home report will be the foundation for this panel discussion and participants are encouraged to read it in advance.
- Moderator – Cornelia Laliberte, MMIWG2S Advisory Group, Catholic School Division
- Elder Corine Eyahpaise
- Tenille Campbell, Author of poem “We Aren’t All Aunties”
- Melissa Cote, Director of Indigenous Initiatives, City of Saskatoon
- Marilyn Poitras and Gwen Dueck, Team Leads for IWG2S* Coming Home Report
- Dorthea Swiftwolfe, Missing Persons Liaison, Victim Services, Saskatoon Police Service
- Faith Bosse, Daughter of the late Daleen Kay Bosse
- Brooke Laliberte, Two-Spirit Community Volunteer, Coordinator - Community Investment Dakota Dunes Community Development Corp
- His Worship Mayor Charlie Clark, City of Saskatoon
This event is in partnership with Sexual Assault Services of Saskatchewan as part of Sexual Violence Awareness Week from May 16-20.
Coming Home Report
In summer 2021, the City made public its report on supporting Saskatoon Indigenous Women & Girls and Two-Spirit People (IWG2S). The report was developed in response to a directive from City Council to identify options for how the City can respond to the Calls for Justice contained within The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (released by the federal government in 2019).
Proposed Action Plan: The key recommendations contained in the final report, entitled IWG2S – Coming Home, are:
Phase 1: Hire an Independent Representative of Matriarchs for IWG2S. That person will coordinate, refer, support, review, evaluate and assess, decide, investigate, and advise.
Phase 2: Create an IWG2S Centre to coordinate services that works in tandem with the rest of the City departments and the other agencies offering services to IWG2S.
Phase 3: Extend the Role of the Representative of Matriarchs to become an Officer of Transparency and Accountability.
The report emphasizes that the methods of addressing the exploitation of IWG2S people must be developed, instituted, and administered by the matriarchs in the Indigenous community, as was the case traditionally. It's noted that the input heard again and again by the research team, from a range of diverse voices in our community, was “this is not something that can be done for us or about us. It must be led by those from within.”
Other Key Insights:
- Our community benefits from the input of IWG2S people but we are fully realizing these benefits. We need to acknowledge the strength and contributions of IWG2S people versus the suffering. For example, dropping “missing and murdered” from references to supports for Indigenous women and girls.
- We need to recognize that there are IWG2S people that we’re not reaching and will only reach through a new form of intervention.
- Anti-racism work in our community is also necessary since racism and patriarchy are the root causes of the challenges and barriers to creating a safe and secure community for IWG2S people.
Next Steps: The report was presented to City Council’s Governance and Priorities Committee on July 19, 2021, where Administration indicated they would conduct an analysis of the recommendation and ways in which the City could approach implementation.
The Coming Home report was partially funded by the First Nations and Métis Community Partnership Projects, a program of the Ministry of Government Relations.