Native Tim Hortons owners campaign for residential school survivors – Williams Lake Tribune
When the remains of 215 missing children were found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, the local Tim Hortons became more than a pit stop for coffee and donuts.
It has evolved into an unofficial community gathering place for mourning, reflection and support.
“Where our restaurant is, it’s pretty much Ground Zero,” franchise co-owner Shane Gottfriedson, former chief of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, said in an interview.
“You can see the graves very well from here.”
The discovery of anonymous graves of children, some of whom were only three years old, sent shock waves across the country last spring.
It also prompted a group of Native Tim Hortons owners to organize a fundraising campaign for residential school survivors involving an orange sprinkled donut.
Many First Nations people have made their way to the BC community this year, stopping along the way at the Indigenous-owned and operated Tim Hortons, said Gottfriedson, also a former BC regional chief for Assembly of First Nations.
“They came and got together… it was very emotional,” he said. “We have a lot of aboriginal people working for us with families who have also been to residential schools, so it triggered a lot of emotions and opened up a lot of old wounds.
The restaurant donated food and drink to those who honored it, but Native Tim Hortons owners across the country wanted to do more.
They started a task force and came up with an idea for a national campaign to raise funds for Indigenous organizations that support residential school survivors.
For one week starting September 30, Tim Hortons will donate 100% of the retail price of Orange Sprinkle Donuts to the Orange Shirt Society and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.
“I am very proud that as a Tim Hortons family we can do something to help,” said Gottfriedson, co-owner of his restaurant with Joe Quewezance and Mitch Shuter.
“There is still a lot of suffering in our communities, so it’s about supporting large organizations and raising awareness as well. “
The federal government announced earlier this year that September 30 will be National Truth and Reconciliation Day, a new holiday.
It’s also Orange Shirt Day, an Indigenous-led commemorative day that has been observed since 2013 when Phyllis Webstad shared her story from her first day of school. It was 1973 when the six-year-old went to St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School in British Columbia, wearing her grandmother’s orange shirt. The shirt was taken away never to be seen again.
The Orange Shirt Society and the Every Child Matters movement raise awareness of the history of residential schools in Canada and support survivors.
“The truth and legacy of the residential school system is not just the Aboriginal story, it is the story of Canada that every Canadian should learn and know,” Webstad said in a statement. “I am touched and honored that my story is a vehicle for change across Canada.
Angela White, executive director of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, said the organization offers one-on-one virtual support, including a 24-hour crisis line during the pandemic, and that community contributions are improving the care that ‘they provide.
Landon Miller, a member of the Tim Hortons Owners Task Force, launched his own local orange donut campaign at his restaurant in Six Nations of the Grand River territory in the days following the discovery of Kamloops.
“We were able to quickly raise over $ 5,000 in our one-on-one campaign and I am delighted this idea is going national, and grateful for the support of Tim Hortons owners and guests across Canada,” Miller said in a statement.
For decades, the residential school system in Canada forcibly removed Indigenous children from their families. Many never returned.
The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced in May that ground-penetrating radar had identified the remains of 215 children in unmarked graves on the grounds of the Kamloops school.
Other Indigenous Nations in Canada have reported finding remains using the same technology. The Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan said in June that a search of the Marieval Indian Residential School grounds revealed what are believed to be 751 unmarked graves.
Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press
Residential Schools Tim Hortons