Pro Metal Industries Ltd. helps by giving back to the community, one orange feather at a time.
An initiative launched three years ago aims to honor children who attended residential schools and did not return home. The Pasqua First Nation-owned metallurgical company started the project in the summer of 2021, when the discovery of unmarked graves was announced.
“It started in Kamloops, then Cowessess, and at that time we had internal employees here who just wanted to show their support for the project…as an Indigenous-owned business,” said Treena Amyotte, director of the commercial development of Pro Metal Industries. “The staff came up with the idea of producing a metal nib and donating the proceeds to a cause.”
The orange feather is composed of a boy and a girl, moccasins, a sun and a pair of wings. The two children are pictured wearing their traditional attire, along with a pair of moccasins to represent their journey back to the spirit world, with a sun to guide them and a pair of wings to symbolize that they are now angels .
“I designed this feather with a tenderness in my heart for the children who were forced to attend boarding school,” artist Jonas Thompson told the Pro Metal site. “I think it’s important that we remember these children as they were and always will be – in their traditional clothes, braided, gifted (represented by their feathers), strong, valued and loved. We cherish our children – Gilesbie iyuhana te unhinabi. We will always cherish our children.
The orange feather pins from this year’s Every Child Matters campaign sold out within days. The second batch of pins will be ready in a few weeks, just in time for Orange Shirt Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30.
“We believe that if we can use our platform to help bring awareness (and) awareness to the history of residential schools, we are absolutely more than willing to do so again,” Amyotte said. “We are 100% First Nations owned. It is very near and dear to our leaders.
More information on the Feather Project 2023 pins can be found on the Pro Metal website.
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