Mayor Shawn Pankow took a moment during Monday night’s council meeting in Smiths Falls to highlight a sombre matter. “I want to recognize the Red Dress Project on May 8, which is a day to remember missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada.” The Red Dress Project is an aesthetic response; a visual reminder of the staggering number of Indigenous women who are no longer with us. “The colour red represents life blood,” explained Mayor Pankow.
Locally, Smiths Falls resident Flora Riley will be hanging red dresses on her property to honour her sister Daphne. Daphne was murdered at 23 years of age by her husband.
Daphne’s birthday is May 5.
The Red Dress Project was created by the artist Jaime Black in 2010 to commemorate over 1000 missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada. Red dresses are hung in public spaces to draw attention to the violence done against Indigenous women “and to evoke a presence by the remarking of absence,” describes Black on her website.