Disha Bisto
Disha Bisto
In 2014, Disha travelled many miles from Mauritius island to pursue her studies at UNB. Going in her last year of Chemical Engineering, she is passionate about projects related to energy efficiency and waste elimination. As a reporter she wants to bring out diverse stories to empower individuals. She loves super spicy food and is always open to try different cuisines. When she is not working, you’ll find Disha ‘painting/drawing’, editing videos, watching movies and planning to do yoga on a less busy day.
November 28, 2018

Honouring our Sisters: A Red Shawl Campaign

Red shawls are presented to girls as a recognition of their growth into women | Photo by Disha Bisto

Held from Oct. 16-19, the Red Shawl Campaign at UNB aims to create awareness about missing and murdered Indigenous women in New Brunswick and across Canada.

In Indigenous communities, red shawls are presented to girls as a recognition of their growth into women; they are also a symbol of protection. Red represents the heart, the non-discriminating part of people that enables them to love everyone.

During the month of October, red shawls are hung around campus as a reminder of the missing women. Two important and recurring events of the campaign are the candlelight vigil and the healing walk, which was renamed as ‘walk a mile in her moccasins’ this year.

More than 50 advocates of the Red Shawl Campaign gathered at City Hall | Photo by Disha Bisto

Candlelight Vigil

The candlelight vigil was held on Oct. 16 behind Marshall D’Avary hall, which is home to the Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey centre. Elder-in-residence and instructor, Imelda Perley, performed the ceremony in the tipi on campus. While preparing for the ritual, Perley explained to attendees the importance of each component involved. The ritual honours the spiritual male and female parts of all participants and recalls attention to the importance of a balanced way of living.

Healing Walk

On Oct. 19, more than 50 advocates of the Red Shawl Campaign gathered at City Hall to participate in ceremony, prayer and speeches. The importance of community support was a constant theme through the speeches made by various leaders of Fredericton.

In 2015, the government of Canada set up a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

The healing walk occured on Oct. 19 | Photo by Disha Bisto

As part of the background on the inquiry, the government stated that “Indigenous women and girls in Canada are disproportionately affected by all forms of violence. Although Indigenous women make up 4 percent of Canada’s female population, 16 percent of all women murdered in Canada between 1980 and 2012 were Indigenous.”

Angela Acquin, a First Nations employee at Devon Middle School, accompanied about 15 students to the healing walk.

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