Canadian Heritage

Canadian Heritage

January 30, 2008 12:04 ET

The Government of Canada Supports Spirit Rising Memorial Society

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Jan. 30, 2008) - On behalf of the Honourable Josee Verner, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages, the Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety and Member of Parliament (Okanagan-Coquihalla), today announced funding for the Spirit Rising Memorial Society.

Funding of $49,950 will allow the Society to move forward to the second phase of the Spirits Rising Memorial Totems project. This project will enable Aboriginal women to learn leadership and life skills, reconnect with cultural teachings and history, increase self-esteem, and connect with communities. At the end of the 24-week project, the women will have carved a second authentic totem pole and reconnected with their culture.

"The Government of Canada is committed to enabling Aboriginal people to take part in the social, political, economic, and cultural life of the country," said Minister Verner. "We are proud to support this project, which will provide learning opportunities that address the unique needs of Aboriginal women, their families, and their communities."

"Our Government is committed to supporting organizations such as the Spirit Rising Memorial Society," said Minister Day. "These projects support the aspirations of Aboriginal women in British Columbia by helping them honour Aboriginal culture and address issues of violence in our communities."

"We are grateful to have the opportunity to work together with the Government of Canada to help to create sustainable opportunities for Aboriginal people, and today's announcement reflects the commitment of Canadian Heritage to invest in projects that will help to improve the lives of our community in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside," said Michelle Morning Star Doherty, President of the Spirits Rising Memorial Society. "Reconnecting with our culture through art and history, coupled with personal development tools, is a positive and powerful combination. Culturally sensitive education assists in building confidence and will help our people to become happy and healthy in all areas of their lives, which includes participating in Canada's growing economy and a return to independence and self-reliance."

The Spirits Rising Memorial Society is a non-profit organization working to create a memorial totem pole to honour the missing and murdered women of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Through art, the Society provides training, financial assistance, and life skills to women and young people at risk.

The Government of Canada has provided this funding through the Aboriginal Women's Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage. This program enables Aboriginal women to influence policies, programs, legislation, and decision making that affect their social, cultural, economic, and political well-being in their communities and in Canadian society. It includes a component to address issues around family violence and a self-government initiative to support the full participation of Aboriginal women in consultations and decision-making processes.

(This news release is available on the Internet at under Media Room.)

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage,
    Status of Women and Official Languages
    Dominic Gosselin
    Press Secretary
    Canadian Heritage
    Ginette Montreuil - Regional Manager
    Communications, Western Region
    Canadian Heritage
    Donald Boulanger
    A/Chief, Media Relations