Normagene Thompson was hurt and disappointed when the red dresses she hung in memory of all missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls were torn down twice. (Courtesy of Normagene Thompson)

Normagene Thompson was hurt and disappointed when the red dresses she hung in memory of all missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls were torn down twice. (Courtesy of Normagene Thompson)

B.C. woman won’t let vandals who tore down her red dresses win

Red dresses, symbolizing missing and murdered Indigenous women, torn down across B.C.

Every year Esquimalt resident Normagene Thompson joins hundreds of Indigenous people across North America in hanging red dresses.

They’re a symbol that has become well known in recent years, used to call attention to the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls crisis.

This year though, Thompson was devastated to have vandals tear down her display not once, but twice. The first time, she hung three dresses in a small greenspace at the end of her townhouse strata. To make sure they withstood the elements, Thompson secured the dresses and hangers together with zip ties and then secured a sign, reading “No More Stolen Sisters #MMIW” to the hangers and the hangers to tree branches.

(Courtesy of Normagene Thompson)

READ ALSO: Vogue features B.C. red dresses in honour of missing, murdered Indigenous women

Four days later, the zip ties had been snipped, the dresses were gone and the sign lay torn on the ground. Thompson said she was hurt and disappointed, but refused to let the vandals win. She posted to social media to see if anyone would donate other red dresses and received two. Those she hung up on April 19. Two days later they too were gone.

The second time, Thompson contacted police and said she’s hopeful they’ll be able to secure surveillance footage from a nearby McDonald’s to reveal who the vandal is.

On the off chance the person who took the dresses was simply in need of clothes, Thompson is planning on putting out some freshly laundered items for them to take instead. But, the way the dresses were secured with zip ties, she said the person would have had to damage the dresses to take them. So, Thompson thinks it’s more likely an act of vandalism.

There have been several incidents across B.C. in recent weeks of red dresses being torn down, including along the highway near Ladysmith and outside Nelson city hall. The acts of hate are awful, Thompson said, but she believes even when the dresses are torn down they are serving their purpose.

READ ALSO: Observers ‘gutted’ as pair filmed removing red dresses hung along B.C. highway

“The dresses are meant to create dialogue and raise awareness,” she said. “Whoever took them may have stolen the dresses, but they didn’t steal their meaning. They are working and they are making a difference.” A post Thompson made to an Esquimalt community group has more than 300 reactions and 100 comments.

Anyone interested in donating a red dress to Thompson can reach her at normagene10@gmail.com.

READ ALSO: PHOTOS: Rally for MMIWG in Victoria creates space for conversation


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

EsquimaltIndigenous

Just Posted

A Gofundme campaign is underway for Salmon Arm man Tim Kubash who was injured in an accident on May 5. (Contributed)
Friends step up for Salmon Arm man facing big life reset

Gofundme campaign underway for Tim Kubash after life-altering accident

Song Sparrow Hall producer and sound engineer Craig Newnes with Darrin Herting from Jimmy Two Shoes & the Lost Soles prepare to record for The Wharf Sessions. (Kate Fagervik photo)
Wednesday on the Wharf makes 2021 debut as digital offering

Variety of musicians and musical styles recorded in The Wharf Sessions

Two people were killed in an April 6 collision on Highway 1 east of Salmon Arm. (RCMP Image)
RCMP correct cause of fatal April 6 collision on Highway 1 near Sicamous

Crash resulted in the deaths of both drivers involved

Completion of the Solsqua-Sicamous Bridge isn’t expected until spring 2022. (District of Sicamous photo)
Sicamous bridge completion pushed to spring 2022

Overnight crossing delays expected at Solsqua-Sicamous Bridge, May 19-21

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

Coldstream Fire Department was quick to arrive and knock down a fire Sunday, May 16, in a Matner Lane orchard just up the hill from the firehall on Aberdeen Road. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Coldstream fire crews quick to knock down blaze

Fire broke out just before 2:30 p.m. on Matner Lane, which is just up the hill from the firehall on Aberdeen Road

WorkSafe BC is out in the Interior making sure wineries, cideries and breweries are adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols. (File photo)
WorkSafe visiting Interior wineries, cideries and breweries ahead of tourist tasting season

40 field inspections and 35 consultations are expected over next few weeks

B.C. RCMP released these two photos of Erick Fryer (left) and Carlo Fryer (right). The two brothers from Kamloops were found dead near a remote road in Naramata May 10, 2021. (RCMP photo)
Slain Kamloops brothers found near Penticton not likely connected to recent B.C. gang wars: RCMP

Police confirm the bodies found near Naramata as Erick Fryer, 29, and Carlo Fryer, 31

Several RCMP cruisers stationed out front of Kelowna’s Global Fitness following a shooting on the morning of Monday, March 29. The shooting was later revealed to be gang-related. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
B.C.’s top gangs are operating in Kelowna: RCMP

‘We have all of the major gangs in Kelowna,’ said Supt. Kara Triance

Crews battled a grass fire behind the Tolko mill along the railway tracks off Otter Lake Cross Road in Spallumcheen Monday, April 26. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star file)
Reports of man lighting Vernon fires with blowtorch

Grassfires sparked near train tracks, behind bottle depot

Kelowna RCMP precinct. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News file)
Kelowna RCMP promotion process tainted with bias: federal judge

An officer was passed over for a promotion in 2015

A restaurant server on White Rock’s Marine Drive serves customers on a roadside patio. Indoor dining and recreational travel bans have been in effect since late March in B.C. (Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate falls to 411 cases Tuesday

360 people in hospital, up slightly, two more deaths

The Banff National Park entrance is shown in Banff, Alta., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Minister asks Canadians to camp carefully in national parks as season starts

Kitchen shelters in Banff National Park closed, trails on Vancouver Island will only be one-way

Most Read