AFN National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak Calls for National Action for MMIWG2S+ on Red Dress Day

Published: May 05, 2024Press Release
(May 5, 2024 – Unceded Algonquin Territory, Ottawa, Ontario) – Today, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak joined First Nations Survivors, families, and communities across Turtle Island to observe Red Dress Day to honour Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals (MMIWG2S+).  
“Red Dress Day is a reminder of the urgent work needed to ensure safety, justice, and equity for First Nations women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals,” said National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak. “With the upcoming anniversary of the Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the 231 Calls for Justice on June 3rd, I urge the Government of Canada to take meaningful steps to protect the lives and rights of First Nations women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals.”
Budget 2024 included a $1.3 million investment over three years focused on the development of a regional Red Dress Alert system to notify the public of missing Indigenous women, girls, or 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals. However, this initiative does not meet the expectations of MMIWG2S+ Survivors and their families, who have been advocating for a national alerting system. Additionally, the budget fails to address the needs outlined by First Nations-in-Assembly in the AFN Pre-Budget Submission, which called for increased wrap-around supports for Survivors and families, and prevention measures.  
“The Government of Canada must prioritize implementing prevention measures and addressing root causes of violence to ensure that First Nations do not go missing in the first place,” said National Chief Woodhouse Nepinak. “Our women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people deserve a future where their safety and security are upheld.”
“It is essential that these systems are developed with the direct involvement of MMIWG2S+ Survivors and families. Their lived experiences and expertise are fundamental in guiding the policy and the criteria for the alerting system. Our approach must always be families-first, ensuring First Nations Survivors, families, and communities co-develop programs and initiatives that directly impact them and that their voices lead the way in this journey toward justice and safety.”
“Today, I lift up all those with loved ones that never made it home. As we reflect on those we have lost, I call on the Government of Canada to commit to concrete actions that prevent further tragedies.” concluded National Chief Woodhouse Nepinak.  

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The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations individuals and communities across Canada on matters of national or international nature and concern.  
Contact information:
Jon Adam Chen
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
(343) 573-2229