Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser has issued the following statement to acknowledge the Sisters in Spirit vigils and the Red Dress campaign:
“Oct. 4 is dedicated to honouring the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and supporting families and communities who have been tragically touched by the loss of a loved one to violence.
“People throughout British Columbia are gathering at Sisters in Spirit vigils to shed light on a crisis that continues to impact many families in our province. Part of the remembrance also includes displaying empty red dresses in communities and along highways. The dresses are a visual reminder of the staggering number of women who are no longer with us.
“These grassroots campaigns – Sisters in Spirit vigils and the Red Dress campaign – force us to acknowledge the women missing from our lives, our families and our culture. And it brings us together to specifically celebrate, honour and support Indigenous women and girls.
“Indigenous women in B.C. are nearly three times more likely to be victims of domestic violence than non-Indigenous women – and that’s completely unacceptable. We often hear of the very real damage caused by verbal, emotional, sexual and physical abuse. We hear of tremendous losses to generations of families.
“We understand that these issues have gone on for decades shrouded in silence. Together, we remember those who are lost, support their loved ones and work to reduce the incidents of violence against Indigenous women and girls.
“Events such as the Sisters in Spirit vigil and Red Dress campaign create hope that we can create a future where all women and girls are loved and safe from harm.”