Red Dress Day – Honouring the Memory of Those Who Never Made It Home

Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) students will honour Red Dress Day on May 5th in various ways, including creating red dress displays and learning more about what inspired Métis artist Jaime Black to launch the red dress movement, where red dresses are hung from windows and trees to represent the pain and loss felt by loved ones of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls across Canada. 

Earlier this Spring, Notre Dame students participated in a traditional beading lesson using red beads and dress cut-outs. The exercise allowed educators to practice an Indigenous art form with students while also teaching them about Red Dress Day’s importance.

Those looking to learn more about Red Dress Day can read Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Honouring Red Dress Day is just one way the OCSB wants to ensure our schools are welcoming environments for all our students. The OCSB is committed to sharing Indigenous stories and respecting the customs and cultures of Indigenous families every day of the year. 

Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic School students were fortunate to learn and work with Aurora Jade and Nicole Bélanger to create an Indigenous mural that will be a permanent part of their school. The collaboration was part of the 2022-2023 MASC Reconciliation Legacy Indigenous Internship that pairs emerging Indigenous artists with MASC artists to collaborate on school and community projects that include Indigenous content and teachings.

While the All Saints High School Legacy Teaching Garden Dedication Ceremony occurred earlier this week, this project featured OCSB students working with Indigenous leaders. These on-going school and community collaborations help increase awareness and appreciation of Indigenous cultures, traditions and perspectives for all students and staff.

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