On Sunday, May 5, Sisters of Turtle Island, the Dallas Peace and Justice Center and The Kolo Collaboration will join together to host A Day of Remembrance: No More Stolen Sisters. This special event will take place on the UUCOC campus from 2-6 PM. The purpose is to honor missing and murdered Indigenous women as well as women of color. The intent is to raise awareness in order to counteract an epidemic and save the lives of those we for whom we care. The event will include booths, a community marketplace, self-defense classes and much more.
The highlight of the afternoon is to be The REDress Art Show Project. This particular show was created by Canadian artist Jamie Black in honor of the over one thousand First Nations women who are missing in Canada. Those attending the event will be given the opportunity to add to the art with their own red dress to create a hauntingly beautiful reminder of the women who might have worn them. According to Black the red represents the lifeblood of the women and connects us all to one another. (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/these-haunting-red-dresses-memorialize-murdered-and-missing-indigenous-women-180971730/)
Stolen Sisters is a movement that started in Canada and has moved throughout North America. In 2014 Emmanuelle Walker wrote a book by the same name that focused on two young Aboriginal women who were victims of brutal violence. The author’s investigation into the matter exposed a tragedy made worse by the lack of response from the government and law enforcement. This same systemic failure to respond to native cultures is also evident in the rest of the continent.
For those of us in the United States, it exposes a truth that has been largely hidden for at least 500 years when Christopher Columbus first landed here. Before departing he kidnapped young Native American women and took them to Europe. Once settlers arrived the First Nation people were consistently viewed as “heathens”, giving the white men of the time justification for rape and murder. As the nation grew they were placed on reservations and their children given away to white families in a misguided attempt to “Christianize” them. Even after the Indian Welfare Act was passed in 1972 the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare continued to actively campaign against the Act. (https://www.occupy.com/article/%E2%80%9Cno-more-stolen-sisters%E2%80%9D-why-nativelivesmatter-about-more-policing#sthash.VwehVU1z.kEtkulra.dpbs )
Only in recent years have Indigenous activists become more vocal and begin taking the lead in protests against the very things threatening their cultures. An event such as No More Stolen Sisters is an opportunity for all of us to join the effort on their behalf.