About 700-strong, students and staff of Bow Valley High listened, walked, and did a round dance to mark Red Dress Day, led by members of the Stoney Nakoda community.

It was the second such Red Dress Day event at the school that focuses on learning and reflecting on the injustice faced by thousands of Indigenous Murdered and Missing Girls and Women and gender-diverse people.

It's an especially difficult day for Gloria Snow, who was the guest speaker at the assembly.

Her aunt Evelyn Snow was found deceased beside the CPR railway tracks in Cochrane on March 20, 1977. The case remains unsolved.

"This is why we do the work, thinking of her," she says. "It's been almost 50 years, and the pain is still as fresh as it was then to find her murdered and missing here in Cochrane, in our own midst, and we still have a lot of unanswered questions."

During her address, she spoke about the struggle for justice and change. She referenced the 231 calls for justice in the Canadian government's national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

"The acts of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and gender diverse peoples in Canada constitutes genocide," she said. 

The recommendations include engaging with communities through culturally-based relevant analysis.

"So that's putting a name to face. How many are Stoney Nakoda? How many are women? How many are girls? How many are missing now?"

She says those impacted should have the option of removing themselves from abusive situations through community and network support. She believes doing so will enhance, promote and foster their social, economic, cultural, and political well-being.

"And so, in honour of my late auntie, we seek to do the work, and we seek justice as we walk. We light a candle, we say her name, and we seek justice for the thousands of murdered and missing Indigenous women."

BVHS teacher Jenisse Galloway is pleased with having the opportunity to build a further understanding between the students and the Stoney Nakoda community.

"I think that's always a powerful moment to see that little bit of connection in the faces of students as they're listening to the guest speaker and then do the walk. And having the symbolism of the red dresses along the route is extremely powerful."

Snow says it was an honour to walk with the students and is inspired to create more awareness for Red Dress Day in Cochrane and beyond. 

Both Snow and Galloway believe there's an opportunity for other collaborations throughout the school year.