Sing Our Rivers Red (SORR)
events aim to bring awareness to the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women and colonial gender based violence in the United States and Canada. The events strive to raise consciousness, unite ideas and demand action for Indigenous women, girls, Two Spirit and LGBTQQIA people who have been murdered or gone missing, tortured, raped, trafficked, and assaulted, who have not had the proper attention or justice. SORR also is being planned in solidarity and with collaborative spirit, meant to support the efforts built in Canada, as well as highlight the need for awareness and action to address colonial gender violence in the United States.
There have been many movements in Canada raising consciousness and dialogue around this issue. Since 1980, over 1,181 Native women and girls in Canada have been reported missing or have been murdered. For over 20 years, there have been marches and events each year throughout Canada on Valentine’s Day to raise awareness such as the Women’s Memorial March. Initiatives listed on #ItStartsWithUs, including the Stolen Sisters movement, Sisters in Spirit, Families of Sisters in Spirit, #ItEndsHere, the Walking With Our Sisters exhibit, creating a community-led database and map, such as the Highway of Tears, and using media via the #MMIW (murdered and missing Indigenous hashtag) have helped bring attention to this issue. Efforts supporting awareness and unity in the U.S. include the Missing Sisters Crowd Map started by The Save Wįyąbi Project in collaboration with Anonymous’ Operation ThunderBird. This Map currently shows over 350 #MMIW in the United States. Ryan Red Corn of the 1491’s comedy troupe released a picture of a Native woman with her mouth covered to symbolize the silence, or lack of dialogue, about the issue. Additionally, groups are also taking up marches on Valentine’s Day and other actions around the States.
THE (LACK OF) NUMBERS IN THE US
While there isn’t a comprehensive estimate, there are many factors that contribute to the disproportionated number of Indigenous women who are missing and murdered in the United States. Indigenous women have incurred devastating levels of violence in the US. “According to the US Department of Justice, nearly half of all Native American women have been raped, beaten, or stalked by an intimate partner; one in three will be raped in their lifetime; and on some reservations, women are murdered at a rate 10 times higher than the national average.” But many factors complicate the reporting and recording of these numbers, including fear, stigma, legal barriers, racism, sexism, amongst others.
SORR events recognize that each of us has a voice to not only speak out about the injustices against our sisters, but also use the strength of those voices to sing for our healing. Water is the source of life and so are women. We need to Sing Our Rivers Red to remember the missing and murdered and those who are metaphorically drowning in injustices. We are connecting our support through the land and waters across the border.
INTERESTED IN GETTING INVOLVED?
LET’S SORR TOGETHER!
CONTACT US to discuss how to build and move forward with Sing Our Rivers Red events for 2019.