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City invites public to attend Red Dress Day ceremony

In honour of Red Dress Day, also known as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit People (MMIWG), the City of Saint John and First Nations Storytellers are hosting a special intimate ceremony on Friday, May 5. 

A limited number of seats are available for the ceremony, led by local resident Natasha Ward, who moved to the Saint John region from the Metepenagiag First Nation two years ago. The session will include a land acknowledgement and drumming followed by the hanging of a red dress, and information will be shared about its significance and the history of MMIWG. The event will conclude with a smudge to honour those who never made it home.  

Red Dress Day began in 2010 after a Metis artist created the REDdress art installation, which was comprised of 600 donated red dresses, all of which were later placed in public spaces throughout Winnipeg and Canada. The artist chose the colour red after speaking with an Indigenous friend who shared that is the only colour spirits can see. The red dresses are used to call the spirits of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls back to their loved ones.

This special ceremony will be held on Friday, May 5 at 10:00 a.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. Those interested in attending are required to R.S.V.P by email to by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 4. NOTE: As attendance is limited to 40 participants, registrations will be confirmed on a first come, first served basis.