17-year-old jingle dancer used her role as head young lady dancer to bring attention to the over 1,000 missing and murdered indigenous women in the United States and Canada.
Three years before Tia’s 2017 tribute at the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow in Albuqueque, Métis artist Jaime Black created the installation piece “The REDress Project”.
She collected over 600 red dresses, which were installed in public spaces across Canada to draw attention to the high number of missing and murdered indigenous women.
Inspired by that project, Tia called for dancers to wear red dresses to participate in a special old-style jingle dance at the 2017 Gathering of Nations.
To start off her special, Tia Wood sang to the crowd from the center of the arena as jingle dancers dressed in red ringed the stadium floor shoulder-to-shoulder. Her voice is as beautiful as her championship jingle dance style!
After the singing performance, Tia danced solo to the first song, making her way to the middle of the ring of dancers. Many of the dancers put together their red dresses overnight so that they could take part in the special.
Immediately after the dance, Wood, who comes from a family of singers and dancers, wrote on her Facebook page, “this was such a dream come true to witness all these red dresses and energy? I’ve always dreamt of putting this special on and I did. I’m so grateful I got this opportunity. Aiyhiy. In honour of the missing and murdered indigenous women.”
As lawyers, tribal members, and families continue to advocate and work for justice, Tia hopes the Gathering of Nations special will help heal those devastated by violence against indigenous women, as it has healed indigenous people for generations.