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Dollars raised will support Indigenous education initiatives

September 30, 2020 — Through their first-ever t-shirt sale fundraiser, staff at The Views at St. Joseph’s, operated by Providence Living, have come together to raise $675 for the Orange Shirt Society. This non-profit organization aims to educate Canadians on the history and impact of the residential school system and advocate for action on reconciliation.

Back row, left to right: Michael Aikins, Rod Smith, Hollie Shewfelt, Becky Martens, Katja Waldman. Front row, left to right: Brenda Phillips, Katie Lobb

It’s our personal responsibility as Canadians to learn about the historical, current, and ongoing colonization of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. It’s also our responsibility to be educated on the inequities Indigenous Peoples experience as a direct result of colonization, including in the health, education, economic, child welfare, and justice systems.

“Education is an important part of reconciliation,” said Jane Murphy, President & CEO of Providence Living. “By supporting the Orange Shirt Society to expand Indigenous education across Canada, our staff are encouraged to talk about what reconciliation means to them, share resources, and find other ways to take action.”

The date for Orange Shirt Day was chosen because it’s the time of year children were taken from their homes and sent to residential schools. It’s a day for survivors to be reaffirmed that they matter, as does everyone who has been affected.

Left-hand photo, left to right: Shannon Schnieder, Susann VomBruck, Athena MacKenzie. Right-hand photo: Artist Timothy Foster

The Views’ special orange t-shirts were designed by Indigenous artist Timothy Foster. Foster is Gitxsan from the house of Niisto in the Lax Seel clan, in northwest British Columbia. He created his design in remembrance of his late wife and son whom he lost in a span of six years.

“My late wife and I both understood how difficult it is to rid our future generation of the vicious cycles residential schools created in our families,” said Foster. “Having this design represent such an important cause I believe is very fitting, as it will help bring awareness to how every child matters, which she a had a deep and loving passion for — not only our children, but for all families and their children as well.” ​

The Views’ orange t-shirts were made by Indigenous Printing and Office Solutions, an Indigenous vendor reflecting a partnership between Naut’sa mawt Resources Group (NRG) and Staples Canada. Revenues from NRG-Staples support Indigenous communities in their efforts towards self-reliance, self-governance, connection to culture, and quality of life — now and for future generations.

“Many of our staff members have told me how important it is to honour the lives affected and lost through residential schools,” said Michael Aikins, Senior Operations Leader for The Views at St. Joseph’s. “By supporting this national movement, our staff are encouraging each other, our residents, and their friends and families to take personal actions towards reconciliation, whether that’s reading a book, starting a conversation, or donating time or money. This is contributing to a stronger culture of awareness, diversity and inclusion for our organization.”

With the voices and resiliency of Indigenous Peoples top of mind, staff at The Views are taking the time to think about what has and hasn’t changed since the last residential school closed its doors in 1996.