On November 25th, 2021 we attended a charity dinner benefitting an organization called I Love First Peoples. Of course this was timely considering the news of the horrific discovery about Canada’s history with residential schools.
Immediately at the start of the evening we were lucky to meet with one of the featured guests, I Love First Peoples founder Josée Lusignan. Chatting with her we learned that Lusignan was shocked to read that WorldVision was sending aid to children in Northern Quebec. Right here in Canada. Shocking to hear that global aid is needed to be sent to our own home country.
This motivated Lusignan to investigate further. Lusigan had already been involved in international charity organizations and then spent the summer in downtown Winnipeg interacting with disadvantaged indigenous people and giving them food, water and other aid. Lusigan started an initiative to fill shoeboxes with aid. The response was overwhelming and her living room was filled with gifts for indigenous youth.
The movement kept growing from there, meeting with many remote indigenous communities across Canada. Since there are not many road developments to access these remote communities getting there is usually by small planes.
Along the way they befriend Dallas who endearingly now calls Josée and Ian his mom and dad. We met Dallas as one of the featured performings (pictured above) that night as well.
Thanks to Neo’s Foundation for organizing this charity dinner to benefit I Love First Peoples and to both groups for further opening our eyes to reconciliation and that it means meaningful and sustained efforts to help indigenous communities. Neo’s Foundation is a non profit organization working to benefit charity organizations such as SickKids, Canfar and now I Love First Peoples.
For more information including how to donate and get involved, visit www.ilovefirstpeoples.ca
Photos by Nick Lee