View the REDress Display At Select CHPL Locations This May

Written by Joe Armstrong, Content Specialist, Downtown Main Library and the Urban Native Collective

Native American women are ten times more likely to be murdered and four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than the national average, according to a 2018 report by the US Commission on Civil Rights, opens a new window.

To raise awareness of the growing number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and relatives, CHPL is presenting the REDress Display, opens a new window in partnership with Urban Native Collective, opens a new window, which will be displayed at select Library locations from May 3-May 24.

The Empty Red Dress

This empty red dress symbolizes just one of the thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women and relatives in Canada and the United States. Métis artist, Jaime Black, introduced the REDress Project—a traveling installation piece created with masses of red dresses acquired through community donation—in 2011. Black uses the dresses to “call in the energy of the women who are lost,” and to confront “both the violence that women are experiencing but also the presence and power of Indigenous women.”

Learn more about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) movement., opens a new window

The Historical Trauma of Native People

"To understand the context of the overwhelming number of missing and murdered Indigenous women in the United States, it is necessary to understand the historical trauma of Native people," says the Urban Native Collective. "Native Americans continue to deal with the repercussions of colonialism, including removal from Native lands, forced assimilation, and Indian boarding schools. A tragic result of historical trauma is continued misunderstanding and prejudice toward Indigenous people, which is often a basis for the violence faced by Native women and girls. Indigenous women deserve better. The stealing and trafficking of Indigenous people is a serious issue. No one should go missing."

CHPL has curated a list of books and movies, highlighting the injustice that's happening to Native women and their families every day. Place a hold on these materials online, or visit the REDress Displays at select CHPL locations to browse these materials.

View Full List

The Urban Native Collective exists to preserve and represent the culture and heritage of Native American, Indigenous, and First Nations people; to provide education, advocacy, and support on contemporary Indigenous issues and cultivate knowledge about Native American history in local and regional communities. To learn more and get involved, visit their website., opens a new window