This week the government of Canada launches a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Many wait with mixed feelings – we are good at inquires in Canada. Less proficient at implementation when it comes to complex issues that challenge systemic racism and misogyny. I read a tweet that said – let’s not let the good be obscured by our desire for the perfect. Maybe we are on the right track, maybe this time we’ll get it right.
Listening to CBC’s The Current, this morning, the podcast ended with a snippet of Amanda Rheaume’s song, Red Dress. I had to hear more. I write this post with her haunting words in my ears and tears in my eyes.
The song Red Dress is meant to honour the over 1180 Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada and raise awareness for this tragic and ongoing issue.
After hearing the song in it’s early stages, award-winning artist Chantal Kreviazuk was compelled to lend her voice to the song and the cause.
The title “Red Dress” and the concept for video were derived from artist Jaime Black’s REDress Project where 600 red dresses were donated and installed in public spaces throughout Winnipeg and across Canada as a visual reminder of the staggering number of women who are no longer with us. The hope for the installation was to draw attention to the gendered and racialized nature of violent crimes against Aboriginal women and to evoke a presence through the marking of absence.
You Tube link to Amanda Rheaume singing Red Dress. Please pop over and watch this video and then review the lyrics.
I see the line of all the broken hearts
Lining up to tell their side to an already one-sided story
Years of cycles in my mind
Seems to be the ones we love
Somewhere, I learned to say I’m sorry
Chorus: Take me down to the river
City lights are in my eyes
I have got my red dress on tonight
I never wanted to be a drifter
I am a woman with no worth
Somewhere I learned to say I was sorry
Every day I learn to say I’m sorry. I hope with all my heart this is the moment for the long-awaited justice that Indigenous women and girls cry out for – the justice that so many of us demand of ourselves, our policing community and our government. I want to believe this is the time to redress the wrongs.
I long to see all the beautiful sisters – free of all fear – dancing in their red dresses.