Red dress serves as symbol

The Red Dress Unity Walk began at the High Prairie Regional Aquatic Centre and included students and staff from E.W. Pratt High School and Prairie River Junior High School.

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

Sisters Angelique Brule, left, and Sherilyn Brule, were quick to don the T-shirts provided by Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council.

Students and staff from two High Prairie schools joined organizers in the annual Red Dress Unity Walk Oct. 4 to honour and remember missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
Nancy Chalifoux, Resolution Health Support Worker for Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council [LSLIRC], has organized many similar events for several years. She knows first-hand the pain and significance of the event, having lost her mother, Angeline Willier. Her body was found in a ditch near Swan Hills, 100 km south of Driftpile, in 2001.
“No one was ever charged with her murder,” she told the students at Prairie River Junior High School and E.W. Pratt High School.
She said the missing and murdered Aboriginal women issue affects everybody.
“We’re brining awareness to the stopping the violence,” she says.
“This walk is an opportunity to come together to grieve the loss of our loved ones and those who are missing.”
Chalifoux explained the significance of the red dress – a “torch” that is passed from community to community along the lakeshore. A young man had a dream about a red dress and when it is held it looks like blood is dripping from it.
“Today we mourn all the Indigenous women.”
Chalifoux also gave advice.
“I call on everyone to please watch out for each other. Please tell someone. Make sure your friends get home safely.
“You never know what small detail will save a life. Always tell someone where you’re going, who you’re with. It gives the police a starting point.”
High Prairie Mayor Brian Panasiuk attended to land his support on behalf of the town and its citizens, and participated in the walk.
A limited supply of T-shirts and masks were supplied by LSLIRC to anyone attending the event.

Nancy Chalifoux, Resolution Health Support Worker for Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council, holds up a red dress.

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