A Vernon woman is upset after she allegedly received a hand-written letter from a postal worker citing the red dress hanging in front of her door was impeding mail delivery to her house.
Wendy Chambers is a part of a local Indigenous elders group, Journey with Elders, and she wants to use this opportunity to educate people on the Red Dress movement.
She took to a popular local Facebook group, Vernon Rant and Rave, to address her concerns. She explained that she hung the dress in her doorway on May 5 for National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, where it has remained for over two months.
“I am completely disappointed in the letter carrier’s note in my mailbox,” Chambers wrote to the group. “It would seem to me that this person is completely unaware of the Red Dress movement and #MMIWG because if she was, perhaps she’d have a little more understanding.”
The note in question reads, “Object which is hanging impedes delivery to the mail box.”
In her post, Chambers also wrote, “As a unionized, Canada Post employee, she has the right to complain but…was it really necessary?”
Chambers said that the note was left in her mailbox the morning of Wednesday, July 10 but no mail was delivered to her that day.
On Thursday afternoon, Canada Post said in an emailed statement to The Morning Star that they will be apologizing to Chambers and understands the importance of the awareness campaign.
“This was an unfortunate misunderstanding as the letter carrier was unaware of the significance of the Red Dress hanging in the doorway,” the statement reads.
“While she had been delivering the mail to this address for weeks, the carrier decided recently to leave a note saying it had been impeding her ability to deliver. This was not the formal process, she did not mean any disrespect and deeply regrets the situation now that she is fully aware of the significance of the Red Dress.”
Chamber’s post garnered a lot of attention online with more than 170 comments, over 70 reactions and nine shares by Thursday morning.
“I knew when I made that post that it would cause controversy and the whole point is to raise awareness on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and educate people,” Chambers told The Morning Star. “People can’t change something unless they are aware of it. Awareness and education are key.”
She explained that she is very passionate about the cause.
“I do have a personal story about my great-grandmother and what happened to her over 100 years ago and I fail to see where much is changed,” she said.
She told The Morning Star that her great-grandmother was abandoned on Kamloops government steps in 1896, when she was 15-years-old.
“She had been so badly abused she had to have an eye removed and an arm amputated. They housed her in the local jail…it goes on.”
Chambers, who is working on a book which will tell the full story, also noted that a painting she created is currently being shown at the Awakening the Spirit art show at the Vernon Community Arts Centre and also speaks to the MMIWG movement.
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