This December Stettler and area residents have a chance to not only give a gift to aboriginal peoples, but include a bit of reconciliation too.
The “I Love First Peoples” project operates in a manner similar to other shoebox campaigns. Small boxes can be filled with gifts along certain guidelines noted coordinator Crystal Daychief Dec. 6 who also stated this is not a Christmas campaign, but runs year-round.
Daychief said the shoebox project is about education and reconciliation. According to the project’s website, top picks for shoebox items include: Finger paint, modeling clay, colouring book, stickers, ball cap, gloves, fun socks, sunglasses, jewelry, hair accessories, stuffed animal, puzzle, Nerf ball, whistle, compass, glow in the dark decals, seed starter kit, flashlight, tambourine, harmonica, flute, small hand drum, sketch pad, gel pens, Sharpies or a journal.
Instructions for finishing your box include, “Choose a shoebox in good condition 2. Write on the box whom the gifts are for — a boy/girl/neutral, ages 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 or 13-16 3. Fill the box with items that would make a child happy! 4. Write a note to the child with happy thoughts. 5. Place $5 in the box to help us cover the cost of shipping.”
According to the website nothing should be placed in the shoeboxes that suggests colonialism or that is “Canada” branded merchandise.
Once I Love First Peoples shoeboxes are ready, head online to the project’s website, https://www.ilovefirstpeoples.ca/shoebox-gifts, to download and print the proper shipping labels. Drop them off at the Jewel Theatre and Herbal Magic, both located on 50th Ave. in Stettler plus the Alberta Prairie Steam Tours train station located on 47th Ave.
After the Dec. 15 deadline, the shoeboxes of gifts will be shipped to certain aboriginal communities across Alberta.
I Love First Peoples is a registered Canadian charity. More information is also available on their Facebook page, I Love First Peoples Red Deer Chapter.
Daychief said she can answer questions by calling 403-876-2764.