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PHOTOS: Prince George’s annual red dress campaign honours murdered and missing Indigenous women

“There are still people going missing”

Through the rain, nearly 50 people came out to stand at the intersection of Highway 16 and 97 carrying red dresses. 

The fourth annual Prince George Red Dress Campaign began at the feet of Mr. PG today (Sept. 8) where participants brought red dresses as a symbol to both honour and raise awareness for murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls.

“We stand to honour our murdered and missing loved ones and to ensure that they are never forgotten,” says Tammy Gatzke-Meise, who started the Prince George Red Dress Society four years ago.

“By standing here it brings awareness to this horrific issue that is still happening. There are still people going missing.”

The Khast’an Drummers also performed as participants raised their red dresses to show passing motorists who honked in support.

The event then continued at Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park where the red dresses were hung up in the trees beside the Exploration Place.

Speakers, entertainment and a big batch of chili were all under the cover of the Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park Pavilion.

“We have had nothing but support from our local business and different organizations have been nothing but supportive, by way of donation, or providing a service or even just coming out,” says Gatzke-Meise.

She says although the campaign has been well received in the community, it’s a group effort.

“I really want to make sure that people know it’s not just the Prince George Red Dress Society that advocates for the prevention of violence against women, or that advocates for murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls,” says Gatzke-Meise.

“There are many pockets of organizations that have done a lot of work to pave the way to bring that awareness and we are all coming together to support one another.”

The Red Dress Project was first started in Winnipeg by Metis artist Jaime Black back in 2010 as an installation art project to bring awareness to the national crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

The symbol of the red dress has since been used across the country to raise awareness of the crisis.