Red dress in rye field

Red Dress Day

Hello everyone, Kwe

My name is Patricia Arab, I’m the MLA for Fairview Clayton Park.

Thank you to Mr. McGowan for inviting me here today, and thank you all of you for attending.

I am honoured to join you today on Red Dress Day, a day to raise awareness about Canada’s missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

For my entire life, Canadians have been walking the path of reconciliation. Being familiar with the ongoing harms that indigenous people face is an important part of working to improve our future.

It was not long ago that I attended the West. It’s remarkable to see how your awareness of reconciliation has grown between then and now.

Our society will continue to change, in both small and large ways, as society becomes more equitable. Sometimes things will be renamed, like Peace and Friendship Park in Halifax, or the Confederation Bridge.

Some changes will be bigger. The education system, the justice system, and indeed all parts of all levels of government are under scrutiny. Their roles in perpetuating harm against indigenous people are being recognized, and in many cases, governments are making changes for the better.

The existence of Red Dress Day reminds us of the missing and murdered indigenous girls that serve as a stark reminder that we must do more, and quickly, to protect the most vulnerable in our society.

As you become adults, and voters, I ask you to engage with these issues. Get in contact with your elected officials. Speak up when you see things that are wrong, especially violence.

Read the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Read the calls to action, and look into what steps the government is taking to implement those 94 recommendations.

The legacy of Red Dress Day and the Red Dress Project will be shining a light on the horrible, often violent, inequity that exists for indigenous women and girls in our country.

Our collective legacy will be creating a Canada where we take concrete action to acknowledge the harms of the past, and we work together every day to build a better, more equitable future.

It’s been my pleasure to speak with you today, and I look forward to working with all of you to improve our province and our country.

Thank you, Wela’lioq