Recently, Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Grand River Métis Council (GRMC) Women’s Representative Colleen Brunelle and her daughters Avaline and Stella participated in a photo shoot with photographer Carly Hunt on the grounds of Marianne’s Park in the City of Guelph.
Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis partnered with Hunt to take photographs of First Nations, Métis and Inuit women and children as part of a social media campaign called the Red Dress Project, which will raise awareness for Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women.
The Red Dress Project started as an art installation created in 2010 by Winnipeg Métis artist Jaime Black. It has grown all across Canada as a haunting reminder of the more than 1000 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. It serves to both mark their absence and remind us all that they will not be forgotten.
On October 4, 2017, Colleen, her daughters and over 100 community members attended the Sisters in Spirit Vigil held at the Boathouse and Maryanne’s Park on the Speed River. Event staff from Women in Crisis streamed an APTN Taken episode outlining the case of Cheyenne Fox. At the end, those in attendance were encouraged to share one word which described how they felt about the episode. Emotions of sorrow, anger, regret and shame were shared. Participants then proceeded across the river, candle in hand, to Maryanne’s Park where the candlelight vigil was held.
Many Women in Crisis staff, thanked Colleen and her daughters for contributing to the Red Dress project and were very interested in understanding the meanings behind the Brunelle’s Métis sash. It was a great conversation starter that attracted the media who requested interviews and photos. Guelph Today, Conestoga College’s media program and University of Guelph students all took photos.