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Indigenous Relations Division

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirited Peoples (MMIWG2S+)

May 5 – National Day of Awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirited Peoples (MMIWG2S+)

Red dress at City Hall

May 5th is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit Peoples. On this day, red dresses will be hung to raise awareness on violence against Indigenous women, girls, two-spirit and gender-diverse people.

To demonstrate support and to honour all MMIWG2S+ families, survivors, and advocates, the WINNIPEG sign and Esplanade Riel Bridge will be lit red. Red dresses will be hung at City Hall (510 Main Street) and at all Winnipeg Public Libraries.

The crisis of MMIWG2S+ is deeply embedded in Canada’s history. Impacts can be tied directly to colonialism as well as social, economic and cultural circumstances that enable the failure of available institutions to substantially respond to violence against Indigenous women, girls, two-spirit and gender-diverse people.

This crisis has been public for the past four decades and was documented in the Manitoba’s Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, (1988 and tabled in 1999) following the 1971 murder of Helen Betty Osborne in The Pas.

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

November 13 – Commemoration of Helen Betty Osborne

In 1971, Helen Betty Osborne, a 19-year-old Cree woman with hopes to become a teacher was brutally stabbed to death with a screwdriver in The Pas in 1971. The entire town knew exactly who had committed the senseless murder but due to racism, sexism and indifference in the community, they kept their mouths closed.

Helen Bettys story was brought forward in the 1991 Aboriginal Justice Inquiry where it was found that that the main factors in her case were racism, sexism and indifference, and again in the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, with references to the prolonged extent to concrete actions taken to preventing violence and genocide against Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirited peoples.

Further, the Indigenous Relation’s Division is a member of the Giganawenimaanaanig (formerly the MMIWG2S+ Implementation Advisory Committee, translates to “We all take care of them”) and provodes supports to community-led events. For more information contact

For anyone feeling overcome or overwhelmed emotional assistance is available at 1-844-413-6649, the national, toll-free 24/7 crisis line relating to MMIWG2S+ concerns; and 24/7 assistance is also available to all City of Winnipeg employees through LifeWorks, the City’s Employee and Family Assistance Program provider, by calling 1-844-880-9142 (toll-free), or 1-877-338-0275 (TTY/hearing impaired).

As 2023 continues, the Winnipeg Public Service will focus on collaborating with Giganawenimaanaanig, and City of Winnipeg departments to develop and implement a civic implementation plan to end violence against Indigenous women and gender-diverse peoples. This plan will work to ensure that:

  • Urban Indigenous women and two-spirited voices are heard, as they are required to lead solutions.
  • Appropriate mechanisms of responsibilities and accountabilities are created. These mechanisms are paramount to ending violence, as the City’s responsibilities directly impact Urban Indigenous people.
  • “Nothing about us without us” is honoured as foundational to the City’s actions. This principle builds on the fact that we are all stronger when we work together, and the work done thus far is a testament to this. Co-development, coordination and collaboration are key to ensuring real change and prevention.

Safe Transportation, Training & Awareness, and Safe Spaces will be emphasized as key components of the plan, with leadership from the Indigenous Relations Division. Above all, we will seek ways to play our part in addressing this crisis in partnership with First Nations, Métis and Inuit residents, Elders, political leaders, and community organizations.


On September 1, 2016, the National Inquiry into Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) officially commenced, with a mandate to investigate and report on the systemic causes of all forms of violence against Indigenous women and girls, including sexual violence. This included examining the underlying social, economic, cultural, institutional, and historical causes that contribute to the ongoing violence and vulnerabilities of Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

On June 3, 2019, the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was released. The Final Report asserts that “human rights and Indigenous rights abuses and violations committed and condoned by the Canadian state represent genocide against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people”.

On June 11, 2019, the Executive Policy Committee (EPC) directed the Winnipeg Public Service to review the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG2S+) to identify how the City of Winnipeg can respond to the Calls for Justice that are within the City’s jurisdiction, and report back with its review and recommendations that can be achieved within existing City of Winnipeg budgets. From July to September, a review of internal programs, policies and services was conducted by Indigenous Relations Division (IRD) in collaboration with other departments to help inform recommendations.

A report went before EPC on March 17, 2020 outlining the City’s existing initiatives as well as opportunities to enhance existing programs and create new ones. As a result, EPC recommended to Council that the Public Service develop and execute an implementation plan of the proposed initiatives, and include progress on these initiatives in the annual Journey of Reconciliation report to Council, on a going forward basis.

At its July 15, 2020 meeting, the Executive Policy Committee directed the Winnipeg Public Service to include a progress update on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Calls for Justice and other initiatives, including but not limited to the work of UN Safe Cities, that respond to the Calls for Justice, in the annual Winnipeg Indigenous Accord report and the Journey of Reconciliation report.

For more information

Native Women’s Association of Canada

On June 2nd, 2021 the Native Women’s Association of Canada Ahead of the release of the National Action Plan the Native Women’s Association of Canada released their action plan, Our Calls Our Actions

Principles central to the action plan created by NWAC to remedy/redress the violence against Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people.  NWAC Key areas of Our Calls Our Actions are:

  1. Culture and Language
  2. Health and Wellness
  3. Human Security
  4. Justice
  5. Public Awareness
  6. International

National Family and Survivors Circle (NFSC)

In response to the 231 Calls for Justice and the Principles for Change from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, the establishment of the National Family and Survivors Circle (NFSC) was supported by Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs to provide guidance on how to engage families, survivors, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people in the development and implementation of a National Action Plan. The NFSC is comprised of Indigenous women from diverse backgrounds. For more information

The National Action plan includes a short term plan that response to the 231 Calls for Justice, and the  62 Calls for Miskotahâ from Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak / Women of the Métis Nation report.

Resource list

For help and assistance

National, toll-free 24/7 crisis line for individuals who need support as a result of learning about and from the Inquiry, its reports and related information.  Service is available in English, French, Cree, Anishinaabemowin(Ojbiway) and Inuktitut.
Phone: 1-844-413-6649. 

After-care supports: "Survivors, family members and those affected by the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls can access mental health counselling and community-based cultural support services."  Visit Indigenous Services Canada. In Manitoba, phone: 1-866-818-3505.

For education and awareness

Last update: April 26, 2024

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