He created a logo to commemorate the victims of the boarding school. Now retailers are using it to “make money”

Warning: This story contains distressing details.

Andy Everson is tired of private companies using his art to “exploit” atrocities against children in the Canadian boarding school system.

The artist from K’ómoks First Nation, British Columbia, designed a more popular logo related to the “Every Child Is Important” movement to commemorate the number of people who died in a boarding school funded by the federal government and run by the church. Thousands of children.

Now he sees it appearing on everything from counterfeit Crocs to “sexy” dresses, usually from international online retailers advertising their products on Facebook.

“It appears on almost everything these days,” Everson said When it happens Guest host Duncan McCull.

“A lot of times, they are overseas companies, they just pay attention to the trend, they think it is a trend in Canada and North America, they want to take advantage of it. So, you know, they just want to profit from it.”

This story is First reported by APTN News.

Listen | K’ómoks aboriginal artist on abusing his “Every child is important” sign:

6:31The BC artist is used by a for-profit company on his logo

Everson is not alone. The Orange Shirt Society promoted Orange Shirt Day on September 30 to commemorate boarding school survivors. The association stated that online companies have been stealing its logos and slogans for years.

“When I heard that the company was profiting from orange shirts, I felt both distressed and angry,” said Shannon Henderson, the vice chairman of the association. Said in a written statement.

Treasurer Joan Sorley said that the organization is working to register a trademark for the phrase “every child is important” in response to this trend. This process may take about a year.

Andy Everson (left) of the K’ómoks First Nations designed the logo shown on the right. There are four sets of hands surrounded by the words “Every child is important” on an orange background. (Kimberly Kuface, Andy Everson)

Everson designed his logo in 2015. It is characterized by the words “Every child is important” surrounded by four hands on an orange background.

He said he has never copyrighted or watermarked it because he wanted to ensure that activists and indigenous non-profit organizations can freely use it to raise awareness and funding for boarding school survivors.

“I never created this to make money,” he said. “I don’t want it to be a thing about me.”

He said that since the initial discovery of more than 1,000 unmarked graves in or near former boarding schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, there has been a surge in unauthorized use of the image.

Between the 1870s and the 1990s, the Canadian federal government removed more than 150,000 Aboriginal, Métis and Inuit children from their families and forced them to attend schools designed to deprive them of their language and culture .Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission Evidence of at least 4,100 child deaths has been found In the agency, but said the true total may be much higher.

Everson requires anyone who uses his logo to donate 100% of their profits to indigenous charities and non-profit organizations.

“I just think it’s fair,” he said.

Facebook removes advertising page

Everson said it is difficult to track companies that use the logo, and trying to close them is like playing a game of molesting.

A company called Keinee adopted a variation of the logo on an orange dress called “Sexy Printed V-neck”. The other, Prideearthone, sells various products with Everson’s and other Every Child Matters logos.

Keinee did not respond to a request for comment.

Prideearthone said in an email that it will donate 10% of the profits from its Every Child Matters collection to an organization called the “Indigenous Children’s Fund.” The company’s website also pointed out that 10% of the profits will be donated to the “Save the Children Fund.” Neither is listed as a registered charity in Canada. When it happens More information about these organizations has been requested.

“We did this project because we love and sympathize with the suffering experienced by indigenous children,” a company spokesperson said.

During the Canadian National Day demonstrations, protesters marched in orange to Parliament Hill in Ottawa. The orange shirt is a symbol of solidarity with the survivors of the boarding school. (Patrick Doyle/Canada Press)

A Facebook spokesperson told When it happens It has launched an investigation into ads bearing the Everson logo and removed several violations of its Community standards regarding “untrue behavior”.

This policy prohibits users, organizations, or companies from misrepresenting themselves on the platform, and may artificially exaggerate their popularity through the use of pseudonyms, fake followers, or bots or “participate in other violations aimed at contributing to our community standards.”

Facebook says that anyone can report ads that they suspect violates its rules.Users can also Change their advertising preferences So they will not get similar content in the future.

“We want people to have a positive experience on Facebook, which is why we delete content that is not allowed on our platform and provide people with tools to control what they see. Including the ability to hide ads and advertisers,” a spokesperson said in an email.

But in the end, Everson said the responsibility fell on the consumer. He encourages any Canadian who wants to support the Aboriginal people to buy their clothing directly from the Orange Shirt Association, the Indian Boarding School Survivors Association, or other Aboriginal charities or non-profit organizations.

“I think we can do more than just wear an orange shirt. I think we can put the money on our lips and make sure that the money is used…actually to help the survivors of the boarding school,” he said.

Anyone affected by the boarding school experience and those affected by the latest report can get support.

A nationwide Indian boarding school crisis hotline has been established to provide support to former students and those affected. People can call the 24-hour national crisis hotline: 1-866-925-4419 for emotional and crisis referral services.

Written by Hina Goodyear. An interview with Andy Everson produced by Chloe Shantz-Hilkes.

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