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Chilliwack woman launches orange heart campaign to honour Indigenous children

Click to play video: 'Chilliwack woman launches orange heart campaign to honour Indigenous children' Chilliwack woman launches orange heart campaign to honour Indigenous children
A Chilliwack woman's grass-roots campaign to pay tribute to the children whose remains were found near a Kamloops residential school is striking a chord among many people. Emad Agahi reports – Jun 7, 2021

A Chilliwack woman’s grassroots campaign to honour Indigenous children buried at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School is gaining support.

Eva Goldthorp and her husband have been putting hearts on their windows during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click to play video: 'Disturbing content: Residential school survivor shares heartbreaking trauma' Disturbing content: Residential school survivor shares heartbreaking trauma
Disturbing content: Residential school survivor shares heartbreaking trauma – Jun 6, 2021

Her husband, who is Indigenous, suggested they put an orange heart in the window to honour the children.

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She jumped at the suggestion. No sooner did they do it than it seemed like everyone wanted one.

“I had a whole stack of orange paper and I thought there’s probably a bunch of people in the neighbourhood that want to do this,” she said. “I’ll cut it all into orange hearts and then if anyone wants to pick it up, I can just leave it out front and they can come get them. And I did and they disappeared in minutes.”

Read more: ‘No road map’ for grieving, healing work after B.C. residential school finding: chief

“It’s just kept going from there, I think I made the first ones on Thursday or Friday of last week, and I’m averaging 150 to 200 hearts a day,” Goldthorp said.

She puts the hearts in a box attached to a pole near her home.

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West End resident creates memorial for the 215 children buried at residential school – Jun 3, 2021

“As soon as I fill it up it empties,” she said.

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The hearts are now a popular symbol of solidarity in her community.

“It’s been great driving around the neighbourhood and seeing the orange hearts everywhere and knowing that this is something that people care about and they want to show their support because we do have a really big Indigenous community in Chilliwack.”

Goldthorp says other people have come forward to help make the hearts and her program has now expanded to include vinyl stickers for vehicles.

Emily Henry, a member of the Ochapowace Nation, said she has donated materials for the project.

Read more: How to support the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation after B.C. residential school finding

“When I found out about these orange hearts, I was so amazed and touched because it was so symbolic of what we want to display and what I personally wanted to display,” Henry said.

Goldthorp is grateful for offers of help but suggests that those who want to donate to her should give to charities that help Indigenous people.

— With files from Emad Agahi

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