Central Library is closed for the day (June 22) due to a facility issue.

Recognizing Red Dress Day at Calgary Public Library

Indigenous women are 12 times more likely to be murdered or missing than all other women in Canada.* 

Red Dress Day is a day to honour the memories of the thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit+ people (MMIWG2S+) through Indigenous voices and stories. 

Red Dress Day will be recognized at all Calgary Public Library locations from April 24 – May 5, 2024, with displays designed by Livia Manywounds, a Blackfoot designer, artist, and communications specialist from the Tsuut’ina and Siksika Nations.    

“It’s such an honour to be part of Red Dress Day at the Library. Being an Indigenous woman, I am an advocate for these types of awareness campaigns. It’s important to share the stories and understanding of what we face as Indigenous people. We’re fighting for our livelihood,” Manywounds said. 

Sharing culture and stories through art 

Manywounds’ cultural background is interwoven into her work as an artist. She believes that art is a universal way to tell stories, and it has been a way to reflect who she is as a person. 

“Art is a way that I’m utilizing my culture to share my story and the stories of our ancestors through symbolism and design,” Manywounds explained.  

Manywounds has worked on a variety of art pieces including traditional regalia and clothing. However, the piece she designed for the Library’s Red Dress Day display is her first creation that is strictly digital art, rather than something that is physically tangible.  

The dress itself is inspired by traditional elk tooth dresses that would be worn farming in the Treaty 7 area — a style that’s often used in powwow. Manywounds also incorporated a geometric design that symbolizes the landscape of Treaty 7. 

“I wanted to do something different that still had meaning and purpose, and was reflective of our traditional practices, beliefs, and values. I wanted to make a statement out of this piece — this one simple dress has so much meaning and symbolism to it,” Manywounds said. 

Manywounds hopes her artwork encourages people to reflect on Indigenous stories, the hardship and trauma they face, and the process of healing.  

Red Dress Day displays at the Library 

Along with Manywounds’ piece, each Library location will have physical displays that include signage, book displays, moosehide pins / red dress buttons, colouring sheets, paper red dresses to write a message on, and a webpage with MMIWG2S+ statistics and links.   

The Library encourages patrons to seek out Indigenous voices and stories, including reading Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, wearing red, or by hanging a red dress in a window.   

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action #41 addresses the issue of disproportionate violence towards Indigenous women and girls and calls for the creation of a public inquiry into the crisis. Please view other important resources on our website.

*Source: Statistics Canada 

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