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Squamish red dresses mark National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (Photos)

Squamish Nation remembers and honours those lost and calls for justice.

Red dresses hanging on the pedestrian overpass above Highway 99 near Totem Hall are a stark reminder that May 5 is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

The dresses symbolize the thousands killed or missing in Canada and are part of Red Dress Day, which coincides with the National awareness day.

(Find out about the origin of the red dress as a symbol here.) 

"Today the Squamish Nation remembers and honours the thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people, including those lost from our own community," reads a statement from the Squamish Nation. 

"Our slhenlhánay̓ (women) and ḵ’émḵ’emay (girls) are sacred to us and we join voices across Canada in celebrating their lives and in calling for meaningful and sustained action for justice and an end to this violence."

Peter Cooper, senior recreation co-ordinator at Totem Hall put the donated dresses up early Wednesday morning.

He has long supported the cause, he said.

As an Indigenous person, he can't help but be impacted by the loss of so many, including some who are friends and family.

As a First Nations man, he said it is important to support his sisters.

"Standing there with the women in our community and showing that we support them," he said.

"You are not just supported by other women, you are supported by men in the community too."

Cooper said the idea is that people who look up and see the dresses when they drive by will go home and research what the red dress campaign is about and support the cause.

Find out more by watching this video from the Canadian Human Rights Commission.


**This story has been updated since it was first posted to include a comment from Peter Cooper.