SIX NATIONS — The Woodland Cultural Centre and the “Save the Evidence” campaign are currently taking part in a contest during the month of June called The Great Canadian Giving Challenge via CanadaHelps.org.
The Great Canadian Giving Challenge is a national public contest created to benefit any registered Canadian charity. For this challenge, every $1 raised is equivalent to one chance to win an additional $20,000 on top of the raised funds. For example: $100 is equal to 100 chances. One lucky charity will receive this new grand prize (which is double the normal amount) from CanadaHelps, as they know the charitable sector has been hit hard by COVID-19.
The Save the Evidence campaign is a fundraising campaign through the Woodland Cultural Centre to raise money for the complete restoration of the Mohawk Institute Residential School, one of the last residential schools still standing in Canada.
In 2013, major roof leaks at the Mohawk Institute caused significant and costly damage to the building. With such large costs to repair the building, the Woodland Cultural Centre conducted several community consultations to gauge the level of support from the community in favor of its restoration. The results were overwhelming, with more than 98% in favor.
In response, the Save the Evidence campaign was born. It’s goals in raising funds are not only for repair and restoration, but also to ensure that the physical evidence of the dark history of Residential Schools in Canada is never forgotten.
Three years ago, the WCC launched a video series called Survivor Stories, and is a series of interviews from surviving community members that attended the Mohawk Institute. The grand prize from CanadaHelps would allow the Woodland Cultural Centre to continue their important work with Mohawk Institute survivors, ensuring their history and stories are preserved.
“This $20,000 prize would allow us to travel to different communities and record more Survivor Stories” says Layla Black, Marketing Coordinator at the WCC.
The Woodland plans to use the money raised to travel throughout their support communities to collect and record stories of survivors and generational survivors of residential schools. Protecting oral histories such as these is integral to what the WCC does at the Save the Evidence campaign. The children of future generations will in turn be able to learn from these stories.
The Save the Evidence campaign and the WCC are asking donors to support the campaign by donating whatever they can so they have more chances to win the $20,000 grand prize from the Great Canadian Giving Challenge. All funds raised will help them to reach their goal of completing their historic and monumental project to preserve the Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School as a “site of conscience” for all future generations.
“Speaking with survivors has been the most rewarding and educational part of working at the Woodland Cultural Centre” Black told TRT staff.
“Their stories have helped me understand my ow trauma and given me strength and courage to relearn my language and culture. More people need to hear these stories and more stories need to be captured.”
Oral tradition has been how Indigenous people have passed down knowledge for thousands of years, and the WCC, Save the Evidence campaign and Survivor Stories believes that these stories need to be heard by all.
For more information on the campaign, the challenge, history on the Mohawk Institute and information on how to donate, visit www.woodlandculturalcentre.ca.