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Red dresses draw attention to violence against Aboriginal women in Canada
Chandra Lye, ctvedmonton.ca
Published Sunday, March 4, 2012 3:53PM MST
Those walking through the University of Alberta will be seeing red for the next few days.
About 100 red dresses have been hung along trees on the campus and along Saskatchewan Drive as part of the REDress Project.
"It is impossible to walk through campus and not see dresses all over campus," One of the local organizers, Pippa Feinstien told CTV News.
The Project was created by Jaime Black, a Metis artist from Winnipeg and is meant to draw attention to the high number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in the country.
"Aboriginal woman are five times more likely to die as the result of violence," Feinstein said.
Feinstein said there are 600 official cases of murdered or missing Aboriginal women in Canada, "300 of which have not been solved," she explained.
According to Feinstein, Black sees the issue stemming from Canada's colonial past.
"It's continuing and perpetuating violence to Aboriginal women", she said.
She added that despite the mainstream media's concentration on violence against women in the sex trade, the violence actually affected more women outside of the trade.
"A lot of the women are mothers, are sisters, daughters," Feinstein said.
"It's in every population in the country."
The dresses on display represent all ages and roles that women in society hold – young girls, middle aged woman, professionals, etc., Feinstein explained.
"She's trying to show all of these women are valuable."
Feinstein added that half of the dresses were donated by Goodwill while the other half were collected by organizers.
"Here at the university we've collected 160 or 170," she said.
There will also be a few special events planned on the U of A campus over the next week.
On Monday at 5 p.m. Black will be giving an artist tour of the project. Those interested have been asked to meet at Pembina Hall.
On Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Law Centre (Rm 105) there will be a panel discussion about the contemporary realities facing Aboriginal woman.
Speakers include Black, master student Jodi Stonehouse, Sociology PhD student Emily Snyder and history PhD student Crystal Fraser.
Black will also be holding a meet and greet session on the Augustana campus in Camrose on March 7 at 3:30 p.m.
For more information go to the project's Facebook page.