‘I wish my dad would come home!’

Nancy Chalifoux, right, gives comfort to a grieving Sasha Isadore, centre, and her grandmother, April Isadore. Years ago, Sasha lost her father, Joey Flett. The case has still not been solved. Red Dress Day has grown to honour all loved ones missing and/or murdered, not just women and girls.

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

“I wish my dad would come home.”

It was one of many stories told May 5 when Driftpile Cree Nation held its Red Dress Day event at the monument by the church.

Sasha Isadore was the little girl who made the statement. Approximately 80 people attended the event, and while everyone had a sad story to tell, none had more impact than the little girl who lost her father and carries a wish each day.

Martina Ghostkeeper also made an announcement at the ceremony, telling everyone that the case of a family member was recently solved and charges laid.

“I hope he rots in jail the rest of his life,” she exclaimed.

Red Dress Day is held to remember missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and to give grieving families an opportunity to heal. The event has grown to now include all people regardless of gender.

The ceremony included an opening prayer and songs and a fire ceremony, where people were invited to write letters to lost loved ones. The letters are burned in a fire, which carries the message to lost loved one.

Nancy Chalifoux helped organize the event and acted as mistress of ceremonies.

“Red has become the colour. Red is the colour that spirits see,” she explained.

She added gatherings like these allow families and the community to come together to support each other.

She then invited people to participate in the fire ceremony. Many did so.

Lakeshore Regional Police attended the ceremony. Chalifoux recognized and thanked them for their presence.

“We need to build relationships with police,” said Chalifoux.

“It’s the only way to build (trust) with the police.”

She also alluded to the Red Dress Monument by the church, where the ceremony was held.

“It’s a beacon in our community,” she said, adding everyone should note the heart in the middle and its significance.

The event ended with a walk to the Driftpile Community Hall for a mini- round dance and feast.

Gabe Isadore Sr., left, and Stan Isadore led the drumming during the ceremony. After the opening prayer, they performed an honour song.
Lakeshore Regional Police Service attended the ceremony. Left-right are Const. Byron Abraham, Const. Alyssa Kropielnicki, and Const. Cody Kube.
After the fire ceremony, attendees marched from the site by the church to the Driftpile Community Hall for a mini-round dance and feast.
A banner is carried during the walk with red hands, which signifies how missing and/or murdered victims were silenced. Red Dress Day is held to ensure they will be remembered and not silenced, and to raise awareness.
Lakeshore Regional Police Service supported Red Dress Day by hanging red dresses on the fence outside the detachment’s north side facing Highway 2.

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