Go Fund Me - Find Our Lost Children

Sep. 15/21

Go Fund Me - “FIND OUR LOST CHILDREN”

Snuneymuxw First Nation receiving $77,000 to support search for Unmarked Graves at former “Indian Hospital” site

“Find Our Lost Children” has raised over $157,000 to date

(September 14, 2021)

https://gofund.me/11b29f01

The ongoing news of located unmarked graves across Canada has devastated First Nations communities across the country.  Residential schools and “Indian” Hospitals have left behind an unconscionable legacy of genocide, harm and injury to Indigenous peoples.    

Three First Nations people from Vancouver Island: carver Tom LaFortune; filmmaker/producer Steve Sxwithul’txw (pronounced Swee-thult); and Producer/ Cultural Safety Educator Michele Mundy, organized a GO FUND ME fundraiser to Find Our Lost Children of residential schools and “Indian” Hospitals.  They have all been directly impacted by the residential school system and these tragic legacies, and they are compelled to find a way to support First Nations communities also impacted by these legacies.

Snuneymuxw First Nation will be the second community the fundraisers will be working with to support the Snuneymuxw People embark upon the important and difficult journey of identifying unmarked marked graves of Snuneymuxw children left behind by Canada-run “Indian” Hospitals in Snuneymuxw Territory in and around the former grounds of the Nanaimo Indian Hospital site.

There were three “Indian” hospitals throughout BC in our past which were located in Nanaimo, Prince Rupert and Sardis. The government funded hospitals began in the 1930’s and were established for the purpose of segregating and assimilating Indigenous people. The hospitals were set up to treat Indigenous patients who were diagnosed with Tuberculosis (TB) or other illnesses but were also subjected to medical experiments and forced sterilizations. Patients who attended were kept for years, denied visitation and some never returned home.

Chief Michael Wyse of the Snuneymuxw First Nation says, “For centuries, our people carry the enormous emotional, physical and spiritual injury and harm of residential schools and Indian hospitals.  Some of our people did not survive and were left behind in unmarked graves in our territory.  I want to sincerely thank Sxwithul’txw, Michele and Tom for helping to bring these truths to the forefront of the national public eye, and supporting our Nation conduct the investigate work in our territory to find our lost children who were forced to attend the Indian Hospital.  I also thank them for their generosity to help our people take another step forward on a healing journey.  Their personal conviction to embark on this initiative impresses compassion, courage and strength into the hearts and minds of communities during a time of sorrow.  Huy steep’qu.” 

Tom LaFortune who is one of the organizers of the fund says “We are happy we are assisting Snuneymuxw with these funds to find those lost from our Indian Hospital experience”

Funds will be transferred to the Snuneymuxw First Nation in ceremony on September 15, 2021 at 10:00 am in the Chief and Council Chambers at 338 Centre St, Nanaimo, BC.

This is will be the final disperment of funds from the Go FUND ME – “Find Our Lost Children” and we thank our generous funders from across North America.

Ahousaht First Nation on July 20, 2021 was the first recipient of $75,000 to assist the Ahousaht People search their former residential school grounds in their territory.

Should you have any questions, please reach out to Steve Sxwithul’txw for the “Find Our Lost Children” at kwassen@kwassen.ca and Chief Mike Wyse at Michaelw@snuneymuxw.ca .

Huy ch qa (thank you)

Steve Sxwithul’txw (Penelakut Tribe)

Michele Mundy (‘Namgis Nation)

Tom LaFortune (Tsawout First Nation)

Chief Michael Wyse (Snuneymuxw First Nation)

Media Contact: Steve Sxwithul’txw: 250 588 9253, or kwassen@kwassen.ca