REDress Project comes to SAIT

SAIT is hosting the third annual REDress Project in an effort to bring awareness to vulnerable populations within the Indigenous community.
“We’re standing up and saying this isn’t right,” said Jean Dube, an Aboriginal student advisor at Chinook Lodge, SAIT’s Indigenous Student Resource Centre. She will be hanging red dresses around campus along with information about the women these dresses represent.
The REDress Project began as an art instillation by Jamie Black, a Métis artist from Winnipeg, MA. The campaign debuted in Winnipeg and made its way to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in 2014.
The red represents the “red people,” the dress represents the women and the emptiness represents their absence, said Dube.
This year the campaign will also include faceless paper dolls with crafted dresses.
“You may know somebody who has been murdered. You can decorate this doll to represent that person and that’s a healing process,” said Dube.
Dube said this epidemic was caused by the transfer of trauma between generations of Indigenous communities.
“This is all a result of residential schools,” said Dube.
People who went to residential schools were beaten, abused and had their culture devalued, and upon their return, they didn’t know how to participate in their communities. So, the next generation learned the same thing, said Dube.
“We’ve said to society who are non-Indigenous that it’s okay to beat those women and murder them because they are worth nothing,” said Dube.
Spencer Meetoos, a new media production and design student, decorated a paper doll in hopes of bringing awareness to this issue.
His aunt was murdered.
“It’s just something that hit close to home to me, so it’s something I want to bring awareness to,” said Meetoos. He said the faceless doll was a way he could express his aunt’s death.
“I think it’s important for the campus to recognize this thing,” said Brenda Gee, administrative support for Campus Life.
“What better way than to have people participate in events like this, by making something and realizing this could be somebody with a name attached?”
The red dresses and faceless dolls will be displayed from Sunday, Dec. 3 to Saturday, Dec. 9.
There will be a REDress booth at SAITSA’s Stand Up Against Violence Expo on Wednesday, Dec. 6 in the Stan Grad building where students can learn more about this issue.
This will also include a keynote speaker, Josie Nepinak, Executive Director of Awo Taan Healing Lodge, who will speak about her work with Indigenous families affected by violence.
“Become an ally. Inform people,” said Dube.

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