Orange paper flowers help raise funds for Reconciliation Canada and awareness of Residential Schools’ impact on Indigenous people

Beach resident Margot Rockett has made these orange paper flowers to raise funds for Reconciliation Canada. Photos: Submitted.

Beach resident Margot Rockett will be selling orange tissue paper flowers that she has made to help raise funds for Reconciliation Canada and to raise awareness of Truth and Reconciliation Day later this year.

After hearing about the discovery of the bodies of 215 children in unmarked graves on the grounds of a former Residential School in Kamloops, British Columbia, Rockett said she felt she had to do something to honour the lives that had been lost.

She hopes the tissue paper flowers she has made will help start conversations about Residential Schools and Canada’s treatment of Indigenous peoples.

Orange is the colour designated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada to recognize the impact of the schools on the Indigenous peoples of Canada.

Orange was the colour of the shirt worn by then six-year-old Phyllis Jack Webstad on her first day at a Residential School. All of her clothes were taken away from her, including the orange shirt. It was never returned, but the colour orange always made Phyllis remember her Residential School experiences.

“I think we have to face our past in order to heal,” said Rockett.

“Generations of children were taken away from their families and culture. We need to educate ourselves and understand that the Residential School System is our legacy too. The survivors of the system were just that: Survivors. They weren’t graduates like most of us. And some never went home.”

A life-long Beach resident, Rockett is making a minimum of 215 of the orange tissue paper flowers, of differing sizes. Proceeds from the sale of the flowers to community members will go to Reconciliation Canada which is working to engaging Canadians in dialogue and transformative experiences that revitalize the relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.

For more information on Reconciliation Canada, please go to https://reconciliationcanada.ca/

The cost of the large paper flowers made by Rockett is $10. She is also selling smaller flowers ($4 each or three for $10) which can be pinned to coats or shirts. She is hoping people who buy the small ones will wear them on Truth and Reconciliation Day on Sept. 30. All of the proceeds from the sales will go to Reconciliation Canada.

The larger flowers have a white centre and will be individually numbered with numerals between 1 and 215 to remember the children who died.

“My little effort is being done across the country in other ways,” Rockett said. “My orange flower is the beginning of the conversation.”

For information on ordering the orange paper flowers, please send a text to Rockett at 647-208-5388 or email her at margot­_rockett@hotmail.com

Last November, Rockett made tissue paper poppies which we sold in advance of Remembrance Day. She raised $800 which was contributed to the Royal Canadian Legion.


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