A group of people marches past the Catalyst mill during the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

A group of people marches past the Catalyst mill during the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Paper Excellence makes $10,000 donation for residential school memorial in Port Alberni

Tseshaht First Nation is raising funds to honour residential school survivors and victims

Paper Excellence marked the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by donating $10,000 to Tseshaht First Nation.

The funds will go towards an Alberni Indian Residential School (AIRS) commemoration/memorial to honour all the children who attended the school, and those that did not make it home.

Wahmeesh Ken Watts, elected Chief Councillor for Tseshaht First Nation, said that this is the single largest donation to the fund to date.

“A huge ʔuušy̓akšiƛeʔic to our friends to our friends at Catalyst Port Alberni, a Paper Excellence company for showing their support yesterday,” he said. “What a beautiful Orange Shirt banner and $10,000 donation for AIRS commemoration/memorial fund.”

Paper Excellence representatives took part in National Day of Truth and Reconciliation events on Sept. 30 in Port Alberni, which included hanging an orange shirt banner along the mill’s fence and taking part in a community memorial ceremony.

“This day is born of unimaginable tragedy, and we must all recognize and use this day in remembrance of lives that were lost, love that was stolen and souls that were broken,” said Walter Tarnowsky, general manager of Catalyst Port Alberni. “From this day forward, we must all commit to learning and understanding so that we can bring forth healing and meaningful change.”

Over the coming weeks and months, Tseshaht plans to work with survivors and also research various locations to gather names of former AIRS students to prepare for the construction of a memorial sometime in 2022.

Businesses and individual have two options to donate to the AIRS commemoration/memorial fund:

1. Send an e-transfer to donations@tseshaht.com (please comment or make a note that it is a “Tseshaht AIRS donation”).

2. Write a cheque to Tseshaht First Nation and mail it to 5091 Tsuma-as Drive, Port Alberni, V9Y 8X9 and make a note that it is a “Tseshaht AIRS donation.”

Port AlberniTruth and Reconciliation

 

Representatives from Tseshaht First Nation accept the $10,000 donation at the Catalyst Port Alberni mill. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Representatives from Tseshaht First Nation accept the $10,000 donation at the Catalyst Port Alberni mill. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)