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'Come together': Families, survivors remember the missing and murdered on Red Dress Day in Alberta


Events were held across Alberta on Sunday marking Red Dress Day to honour the memory of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

The fourth annual Mohkinstsis MMEIP (Missing, Murdered, and Exploited Indigenous Peoples) Red Dress/Ribbon/Shirt Gathering was held in Calgary on Sunday.

Survivors and families gathered at the “Field of Red Ribbons” – located on the corner of Memorial Drive and Centre Street.

“We put up all these dresses and all the ribbons on the trees, and they all represent our people that are missing and murdered,” Sterling Green, a co-organizer of the event, said.

The event is held each year on Red Dress Day and focuses on honouring the families affected by the deaths of Indigenous people.

“This is a day for us to put down our signs and lower our voices and to just come together and celebrate the lives of those who we have lost, our mothers, our aunts, our sisters, our best friends, and most importantly, also the men in our lives, our brothers, our uncle's, our friends,” Hayley Starlight, who attended the walk, said.

Starlight’s cousin, Colton Crowshoe, was killed in 2014. This July will mark 10 years since his death.

“For the last 10 years, this trauma has impacted me mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and most importantly, physically,” Starlight said.

Wiley Su Provost pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Crowshoe’s death in 2023.

‘She’s never forgotten’

A walk was also held in Edmonton, where families, survivors and supporters walked down Jasper Avenue to remember the ones they’ve lost.

Donna Robillard, whose daughter, Carolann Robillard, and granddaughter, Sara (Jayden) Miller, were killed last year, was at the walk with her family.

The 35-year-old mother and her 11-year-old daughter died on May 5, 2023.

“Today is their anniversary,” Robillard said.

Robillard was surrounded by several family members at the event, who were all there to remember Carolann and Sara.

“I know I’m going to have some tears, and we’re all going to have some tears,” she said.

“Well we’re a big family and we’re there for each other and we’ve got a lot of support.”

Tanisha Miller, Carolanne’s daughter, said her mother and sister being gone still doesn’t feel real.

“It feels like they’re still at home, could still call them,” she said.

She described her sister and mother as adventurous people.

“They loved to go out on adventures and just explore, go on walks. They were just so full of life,” she said.

Judith Gale, the leader of the Bear Claw Beaver Hills House, an Indigenous-led community organization in Edmonton, said all Indigenous people share a similar story and lived experience.

“It’s a day that we cherish deeply as it’s a day for national awareness for missing and murdered exploited Indigenous peoples, two-spirited men, boys,” Gale said.

“It affects every Indigenous person on Turtle Island today. It’s an ongoing genocide that we would like to stop.”

Gale said she was walking to remember her sister, who was murdered in Montreal when she was 16 years old.

“Today I call her spirit to us to let her know that she’s never forgotten,” she said.

With files from CTV News Calgary’s Tyler Barrow and CTV News Edmonton’s Miriam Valdes-Carletti Top Stories

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