Indigenous artist Jamie Black created the REDress Project in 2010 to draw attention to the disproportionate rates at which Indigenous people in Canada go missing and experience violence compared to non-Indigenous people. Her art installation has since grown into Red Dress Day — the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls & Two-spirit People — an annual day of remembrance and action that stretches from coast to coast to coast.
We take this opportunity to reaffirm the urgency of the calls for action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In particular, on this day that is dedicated to remembering the missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people, we demand action on the 231 calls for justice released by the National Inquiry into MMIWG, and are calling for immediate systemic change.
We also recognize that the profession of social work has been complicit in these harms. As part of our College’s commitment to work toward justice, the NSCSW Council joined and affirmed the 2019 statement of apology and commitment to reconciliation of the Canadian Association of Social Workers. As stated in that apology: acknowledging the truth is hard, but the work of reconciliation is harder.
Our College has committed to dismantling structures that impede the full, equal, and just participation of Indigenous peoples in all aspects of economic, social, cultural, and political life. Specifically, our Council recently committed to applying an decolonization framework to the polices, programs and services in the authority of the NSCSW, to strive towards reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
The NSCSW Council will commit resources to ensure;
- Education of all staff and committee members on the goals of decolonization and impacts of colonization and genocide through the profession of social work.
- NSCSW’s governing documents (Social Work Act, Regulations, By-Laws, Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice and policies) are updated through the framework of decolonization.
- All social workers embrace reconciliation and commit themselves to decolonizing their own practices.
- Development of regulatory tools and processes to ensure social workers are accountable to the goals of decolonization.
May today inspire each of us to do what we can to honour the memories of those who have gone missing and been murdered, and the countless others whose lives have been permanently scarred as a result of the race-based genocide of Indigenous peoples, including First Nations, Inuit and Metis, and which especially targets women, girls and 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals. May we find ourselves driven to prevent further loss and harm.