On September 30th, Copperleaf gathered virtually to recognize Canada’s inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation—a day that commemorates the lost children and survivors of residential schools, and their families and communities. We were honored to welcome Kym Gouchie on this important day to acknowledge the colonial legacy of residential schools and reflect on the importance of advancing Indigenous rights through truth and reconciliation.
With ancestral roots in the Lheidli T’enneh, Cree, and Secwépemc Nations, Kym is focused on fostering change through her music and art. Her music not only brings awareness to First Nations’ and women’s issues, but also imparts meaningful truths while reminding us that we are all in this together. A true inspiration, Kym generously shared her own journey from personal tragedy to triumph, the experiences of her people, and the impact the residential school system had on her community.
In addition to engaging in personal reflection, our team also supported Orange Shirt Day, an annual observance of the cultural genocide that took place in the residential school system. Orange Shirt Day recalls the experience of survivor Phyllis Webstad, who at age six was stripped of her new orange shirt—a treasured gift from her grandmother—on her first day attending the St. Joseph Mission Residential School near Williams Lake, British Columbia. The Copperleaf team worked with Skwachàys Lodge Aboriginal Hotel & Gallery, to purchase orange shirts designed by their local Indigenous designer in residence Shoshannah Greene, SGidGang.xaal, supporting the ‘Every Child Matters’ campaign.
We respectfully acknowledge that Copperleaf is founded and located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded lands of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam Nations of the Coast Salish peoples. Copperleaf is committed to continuous learning and advancing meaningful reconciliation with the Indigenous Peoples of Canada.
If you wish to learn more about the injustices that Indigenous People face and to become an ally, please join the Canadian Artists for Reconciliation and Education.
Hero Image © Kym Gouchie, courtesy of Red Works Photography