Students from three Langford schools marched to commemorate Red Dress Day, a national day of awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people, on Friday (May 5).
They sang and banged drums as they walked along Goldstrem Avenue from Ruth King Elementary School to Savory Elementary School. Students from the two elementary schools and Spencer Middle School took part.
“I think it’s time that our younger kids learn more about Indigenous people and their issues,” said Marlene Clifton, a Gitksan woman who works with the Sooke School District. “I think by teaching them in schools, and not watering it down… (it) is a great thing. I think it’s important because when I went to school, when my children went to school, there was absolutely nothing about Indigenous people. I think the time is right and that’s the way Indigenous people are, everything is a time for things, a time for everything. So this is the right time.”
After arriving at Savory there was a ceremony held where elders told stories before bannock was served.
Jo-Ina Young, Metis elder with SD62, said she hoped by seeing diversity and inclusion taught in schools there wouldn’t be a need for Red Dress marches in the future.
“Seeing the children come out no matter what nationality they are, they all are expressing their concern for the Indigenous women of Canada. It just raises our hearts and our emotions and our complete pride in being Indigenous people.”
Red Dress Day started in 2010 after artist Jaime Black’s REDress project inspired the movement to pay respect to the Indigenous victims of racialized and gendered violence in Canada.
“We also want to share and celebrate the strength of Indigenous women and relay how honoured women are in Indigenous culture and communities,” principal of Savory Elementary School Renee Hislop said in a previous interview with Black Press Media.
“It is important in our work towards truth and reconciliation, that we teach this to our young people in a way that tells the story of Indigenous peoples both past and present. It’s really important to us that we share this truth in a way that honours but does not traumatize children. Our children are our future, and they are going to make the difference.”
- With files from Ella Matte
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