'It's been crazy': young entrepreneur launches MMIWG jingle dress fundraiser
Published Thursday, February 6, 2020 7:32PM CST
WINNIPEG -- A young Indigenous entrepreneur has come up with a colourful way to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Nineteen-year-old Emilie McKinney launched the Red Jingle Awareness and Fundraising campaign on Thursday, kicking off her company's new red-coloured jingle cone.
A portion of the proceeds from the cones will go towards the Swan Lake First Nation Women's and Men's Group, MKO, and Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre.
"I wanted to be a positive influence for other people, businesses and organizations because a lot of times people will host these big events to bring awareness, but none of the proceeds go to the families affected," said McKinney.
A red dress has become a symbol of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and powwows often feature "red dress specials" to honour missing and murdered loved ones.
McKinney said the jingle dress and dance represent healing, so the red cones are a no-brainer.
"I hope it gives a real positive effect for the Indigenous peoples. Not only that, we hope to see more jingle dancers wearing red cones to support MMIWG, and we also hope that it leads a positive influence people, businesses, and organizations to give back a little to the causes," she said.
McKinneysaid the red jingle cones are a success. On the first day, shesaid she sold more than half of her stock.
"It's been crazy, I honestly thought people would be kind of weirded out or something," said Mckinney.
"A lot of times people are used to the brass or nickel, so I was worried people were going to be scared to try it," she said.
It took over a year of planning and testing to come up with the red cones.
"The colour red is the hardest to make. So to get the perfect shade, it took longer than expected," McKinney said.
The company that makes the cones had to create an entirely new type of paint to ensure the cones looked perfect and wouldn't chip or flake.
McKinney says in the future she'll hopefully make different colours for different causes.