Chilliwack FC will be selling specially-designed orange t-shirts as a fundraiser for the Stó:lō Nation Chiefs Council (SNCC).
Since the discovery of 215 children’s bodies on the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, CFC membership has been working on a meaningful response.
Laura Plant, the parent of a CFC player, suggested creating an orange t-shirt that CFC members could wear in solidarity.
The youth soccer organization consulted with Chief David Jimmie of Squiala First Nation, who is also the President of the SNCC, and talked to Chief Derek Epp of the Tzeachten First Nation. It was decided that proceeds from t-shirt sales will be donated to a trust fund created by the SNCC. One of the uses of that trust fund is researching potential burial sites at the locations of two former residential schools in the eastern Fraser Valley (Coqualeetza in Chilliwack and St. Mary’s in Mission), and bringing home any Stó:ló people identified at the Kamloops site.
“During a ceremony held at Coqualeetza to honour our elders, care givers, and survivors of residential schools, a donation was made by those in attendance to start a trust fund to help with the upcoming work we have planned,” Jimmie said. “Addressing the need to locate our burial sites is very challenging,” Epp added. “We are grateful to Chilliwack FC for their willingness to work with us to support the needs of the community.”
The t-shirt is designed by Coast Salish artist Bonny Graham (B. Wyse). It includes the phrase ‘every child matters’ in a custom font inspired by Coast Salish design.
“The design reflects a child playing soccer, running and living a life of freedom,” Graham said. “The impact, to understand how the recovered children and lost souls lived in oppression and were never given the chance to live and run freely as we do today; and represented in the 215 feathers floating and flying in the winds of change.”
Orange Shirt Day takes place Sept. 30, with events organized to remember the residential school experience, to witness and honour survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation.
Pre-sales of these t-shirts are being processed by SoccerPlus, a soccer apparel and equipment store owned by Chilliwack FC. The store is located on the southeast side of the Chilliwack Coliseum and orders can also be made online at soccerplusbc.ca.
Orders are expected to arrive in early July.