Red Dresses Demand Inquiry (Gallery)

Red dresses hang outside the Caldwell First Nation office in Leamington on May 20, 2015. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Red dresses hanging from the trees outside the Caldwell First Nations office in Leamington are a cry for a national public inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Liberal MP and Aboriginal Affairs Critic Carolyn Bennett recently viewed the exhibit. She stresses the need for the government to allow the inquiry.

“What was 8% of the homicides 20 years ago is now 23% of the female homicides. This is not acceptable when you look at that aboriginal women make up 4% of the population,” says Bennett, disappointed in the government’s refusal to call the inquiry. “We believe they’re on the wrong side of history.”

Community Wellness Worker with the Caldwell First Nation Carrie Ann Peters says southwestern Ontario isn’t immune from the issue.

“It’s here. It’s definitely here, but it’s just not talked about as much,” says Peters. “A lot of people know about the murdered and missing indigenous women, but we just want to keep it in everybody’s mind that it’s still happening.”

An RCMP investigation found aboriginal women are over represented among Canada’s missing and murdered women. The report, issued last May, shows there are 225 unsolved cases of either missing or murdered aboriginal women.