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Reprint: CMHC Memo from Tom Lancaster

25 Sep 2021 10:00 AM | Anonymous

Hello Granville Island Tenants and Community, 

I hope this message finds you well. As you may know, as part of the 94 recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will be observed by all federally regulated workplaces, including CMHC. On September 30, we will commemorate the tragic history and lasting effects of Canada’s residential school system, and to honour Indigenous survivors and their families and communities. CMHC is absolutely committed to Reconciliation with the Indigenous Peoples of Canada; First Nations, Inuit, and Metis.

This memo may contain information that may trigger difficult emotions. If looking for support, please explore Getting Help for Mental Illnesses | Here to Help, and-or Indigenous support networks Hope for Wellness , and the Indian Residential School Survivors and Family Crisis Line 1-866-925-4419.

​​This date coincides with Orange Shirt Day, which began in 2013 and involves wearing orange shirts to honour Indigenous children forced to leave their families to attend Residential Schools. The objective of this new day of observance is to encourage Canadians to take time to learn more about Reconciliation, and to reflect on to the real histories and ongoing impacts of colonization, the effects of which continue to be felt today. It is also an opportunity to commemorate the survivors, their families, and their communities.
This new commemorative day goes hand-in-hand with CMHC’s own commitment to Reconciliation by providing opportunities for all employees to learn about the history of Indigenous Peoples, commitments to advancing Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, and increasing support for Indigenous partners. On the national level CMHC continues to seek advice and guidance through an Indigenous Advisory Council (IAC), as well as engaging with other national Indigenous organizations and councils to help us progress on our Reconciliation journey. At Granville Island, we are continually working to improve access, partnerships, and representation through leasing, planning projects, programming, events, and communication practices.

Upcoming actions on Granville Island, which is in the traditional territory of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations:

“No Children Will Be Forgotten”
Saturday Sept 25 & Sunday Sept 26 10am – 6pm
1244 Cartwright Parklet
A weekend-long fundraiser, exhibit, and art show hosted by Indigenous artist D’Arcy Basil, CMHC-Granville Island, , i.e. Creative, and the Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society (IRSSS).

“Indigenous artist D’Arcy Basil to carve first of its kind 2,500 lb Jade monument to honour the children that perished at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, and the survivors who attended. Funds raised will be used to create, and place, a Kamloops Residential School Children’s Monument, carved from a 2,500 lb piece of raw jade, as well as going towards the creation of an Indigenous Artists Carving Program, teaching the traditional methods of carving wood, stone, bone, antler and jade.”

The uniquely large piece of Jade was donated by Tony Ritter, co-owner of Cassiar Jade Contracting in Watson Lake, YT. After initially hearing the news of the 215 unmarked graves in Kamloops, Mr. Ritter considered what he could do to support the community and reached out to artist D’Arcy Basil to ask if he would be interested in the Jade.

Since this idea was first presented, the Granville Island community stepped in to support the event. With guidance from i.e. Creative’s Cheryl Hamilton; artisans, non-profits, businesses, staff, and management from across Granville Island came forward with donations of materials, labour, expertise, space, and the planning required to make this happen, reflecting the relationships that truly make Granville Island a community.

“This fundraising event is a way for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to learn more about the history of Residential Schools, the impact they have had on Indigenous people, and for all those who have wanted to do “something”, the opportunity to contribute to the fundraising efforts to complete the Kamloops Residential School Children’s Monument.” D’Arcy Basil.

There will be art work by donation, and a silent auction for some incredible Indigenous carvings. Over the course of the weekend, First Nations’ Elders and members from Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations will be attending to share stories. More info about the event can be found on the Press Release

Schedule of Events September 25th & 26th

  • 10:00 AM Daily - Opening prayers, blessing, and traditional territory acknowledgement by Elders Shane Point (Musqueam), and Kelly White (Snuneymuxw).
  • Exhibits, auction and art show from prominent local carvers and artists featuring wood masks, panels, prints, and other sculptures.
  • Information hub by the Kamloops Indian Band Cultural department and members involving history, culture, and developments from the findings of the 215 unmarked graves at the former site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School.
  • Information and art displays by the artist D’Arcy Basil, live carving by Master Carver Chris Sparrow and displays by Master Carver Clarence Mills
  • All donation activity and financial administration courtesy of The Indian Residential School Survivors Society, a non-profit Indigenous Organization who will also provide information at the event.
September 30th, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

CMHC will observe the new national holiday, and the Administration Office will be closed. The Public Market and Net Loft will remain open for regular operating hours. All CMHC employees are encouraged to spend time reflecting and learning about Truth and Reconciliation.

On Site Recognition

All of the Transit Shelter ad space will be replaced with graphics noting the new day, lights will be turned Orange at the Arts and Innovation Hub, and a moment of silence will be acknowledged in the Public Market and across the busker locations at 2:15pm in recognition of the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children on the grounds of the former Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia.

Many Granville Island staff, tenants, and community members have contributed to these efforts and many other commemoration activities that might not be named in this memo. I want to thank each of you for your contributions, as I recognize that we are all working on countless tasks, still working through COVID, and supporting the day to day magic of Granville Island. We encourage all tenants and staff to join us in honouring this new National holiday. Thank you for your commitment to an inclusive and supportive Granville Island.

Additional Ways to Commemorate:

Tom Lancaster

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