‘It really hits home’: Families of missing and murdered Indigenous women gather on Red Dress Day

'It really hits home': Families of missing and murdered Indigenous women gather on Red Dress Day

Monica Patsy Jones wore her sister’s memory from head to toe on Red Dress Day, with a sash and dress bearing Catherine Joe’s name. The Cowichan Tribes member said she refuses to let her big sister’s killing go unsolved.

“We made it our mission because she’s slated as a cold case — unsolved,” said Jones, who also heads the Cowichan Missing & Murdered Women, Men & Children group.

It’s been 46 years since Joe was found murdered in a ditch outside of Duncan, and Friday her sisters said the impact still aches in their family every day.

“Horrible. It was too hard on my mom. My mom didn’t even last a year after she died, my mom died too,” said her other sister, Helen Joe.

“Every day crying, every day not knowing,” said Jones.

“It really hits home, with us. Me and my mom,” said Penelakut Island resident Taylor James.

James is the niece of murdered Penelakut Island teen, Delores Brown. Even after eight long and painful years, her family is still searching for justice as the case also remains unsolved.

DELORES BROWN: ‘She’s our loved one’: Penelakut Island haunted by unsolved murder

“So to be able to take part in the walk is really big for us,” said Taylor.

Mary Jim’s daughter, Tyeshia Jones, was murdered in Cowichan 12 years ago.

“We love and miss her so much. And we don’t wish this upon anybody,” Jim told CHEK News Friday.

So on Friday’s Red Dress Day, the many touched by the loss of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls turned out, to express it, and raise the profile of the women they loved.

In Nanaimo, missing Lisa Marie Young was on the minds of many, because it would have been her 42nd birthday.

“It makes me really sad to think of everything that Lisa was robbed of in 21 years. Think of all the memories you have made,” said Cyndy Hall, a friend of Young.

Yet, in the tragedy, there was also a growing sense of community and people trying to help heal each other’s pain.

“I keep saying people don’t just disappear, so we’re not going to give up until we find them,” said Jones.

Jones has now made it her mission to help others going through this. Supporting families who are searching for answers — just like hers.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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