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

(Clockwise, from top-left) Brenda DeJong, Carol Jones, Marcia Strang, Cathy Collis and Mark East star in the upcoming Sidekick Players Zoom presentation of the Norm Foster play “Halfway There,” directed by Carroll Lefebvre, on May 22, 2021. (Submitted photos)
Delta’s Sidekick Players continue ‘Foster Zoom Fest’ with ‘Halfway There’

Tsawwassen-based theatre company hosting another online performance on Saturday, May 22

Sergeant Mike Sanchez of the Surrey Gang Enforcement Team speaking with students. (Photo: RCMP).
Surrey RCMP’s anti-gang program goes virtual amid COVID-19 pandemic

Presentations aimed at youth available to be booked

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Discussions about Surrey-owned land in Langley should be behind closed doors, councillors say

That’s what Councillors Brenda Locke, Jack Hundial and former Surrey mayor Bob Bose say

Little House Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Society COO Debbi McKenzie stands in front of the society’s namesake facility with Phoenix Drug Alcohol Recovery and Education Society CEO Keir Macdonald. (Submitted photo)
Delta’s Little House Society merging with Surrey-based Phoenix Society

Merger ‘came together in a really organic way’ as societies have been working together for two years

Elsje Hannah stands in the old safe at the Healing Place Counselling Centre in the Dale Building. Hannah converted the old safe into a chapel-area for quiet reflection for clients at her practice, which includes the not-for-profit Soul Matters Counselling. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Not-for-profit counselling service opens in Cloverdale

Soul Matters Counselling is located on 176th in the Dale Building

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Mandarin Garden in Abbotsford had two event tents set up for outdoor dining. One of the tents, valued at more than $5,000, was stolen early Friday morning (May 14). (Submitted photo)
UPDATE: Dining tent stolen from Abbotsford restaurant is located

Owner says it would have cost more than $5,000 to replace the rented event tent

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

Most Read