OHSWEKEN – The Ontario Indian Residential School Survivor Society (OIRSSS) is funding two Six Nations survivors of the Mohawk Institute to visit the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in Winnipeg. Five others would like to go but need to be funded.
Funding is required to help cover air fare, accommodations, meals and other related items. A delegation from the “We Are Still Here” group attended last night’s Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) general meeting to ask if elected council would offer any financial support in sponsoring the other five survivors.
“We’re wondering if you [SNEC] would help us send the remaining five survivors to the centre in Winnipeg,” said Roberta Hill, a member of the group.
Hill estimated that costs between $1,500 and $2,000 per person to attend the event in February, so the group asked council for a minimum of $5,000 and a maximum donation of $10,000. The group is planning on fundraising the remaining balance themselves after SNEC’s contribution if they are able to contribute.
The money would come from the 2016 to 2017 current money allocations. In other words, it would come from this year’s remaining funds.
“We need to get our financial director to analyze what we have left and where we could rework some of our other commitments before we can say yes,” said Six Nations Elected Chief Ava Hill. “But if the money is there, yes, we would help.”
The trip will be an opportunity for survivors to see firsthand the collection of archival materials, photographs and donations to the collection from survivors, government and churches. If time allows the group will also visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Chief Hill said that they would likely be able to decide next week.
Six of the seven group members are from Six Nations and one is not. Originally Hill said that Tom Reuben is the individual not from Six Nations who would be funded by community fundraisers not elected council, but Councillor Terry General said that Reuben has done a lot of great work for the community and if they are sponsoring the others then they should also sponsor him. SNEC agreed.
The individuals seeking to attend the event are; Sherlene Bomberry, Dawn Hill, Beverly Albrecht, Roberta Hill, and Tom Reuben. Roland Martin and John Elliot and being funded by OIRSSS.
The group will also accept funding gifts and donations from other community organizations.