DIVERSITY MURALS-The arts are the living soul of humanity. Through them, our aspirations, our imaginative spirit, our creativity, our values and our voice is spread, like a canvas, upon the ever-expanding horizon of our collective consciousness. In observing our past, sometimes uncomfortable, truths about who we are illuminate little known facets of our existence, promote human striving, and build potential.        Michelle Loughery
WE ARE ALL FIRST PEOPLE FROM SOMEWHERE..together paving a future while learning from our past..

EMBRACE BC GRANT 2013 Project Outline:

Four Indigenous community members with four Immigrant community members who have family members who were interned or attended residential schools will work with Michelle Loughery to design and implement an outdoor mural that explores the effects of this historical period and how to move forward. The mural will be painted in an outdoor space; this allows the general public to watch the process unfold and leaves a lasting and positive legacy in the community that will encourage ongoing dialogue. It will be a visual story the goes from the history of human interment (residential schools and Internment camps) to inclusion. The community members will work together incorporating the artist’s techniques to create a piece of art that expresses the community member’s own unique and personal interpretation of the topic. The collaboration with the artist and community members will provide an opportunity for Indigenous and Immigrant members to learn about and from each other, gaining a deeper understanding of the diversity and commonality that exists. All 8 participants will work together to design the mural so that it takes the community on a visual exploration from human internment to inclusion. The mural will provide an exceptional and rare opportunity to witness the power of art as a tool for community engagement in addressing complicated issues and building reconciliation. The goal is to promote multiculturalism and build an inclusive community through reconciling with the past.






Merritt BC -Sunflower Project

Embrace BC Grant Award 2013

Wayfinder –Loughery Mural Artworks Foundation-Reconciliation through cultural diversity – moving from Interment to Inclusion- A historical community visual art project Art fulfills a variety of functions within the public sphere, providing opportunities for, among other things: artistic self-expression; community dialogue; education and enjoyment; inspiring participation in appreciation and creation of art; community problem solving; enhancement of the physical infrastructure and environment; and celebration and transformation of place. The arts can also be used as a tool for community engagement, giving voice to those who have been marginalized, based on ethnicity, faith, and social economic background. Art forms can become a valuable device in providing a safe way for the community to discuss and solve difficult issues, moving one step closer to an inclusive society.


Aboriginal and immigrant communities will share information that sets the historical and current context of Aboriginal and immigrant communities in Canada. In this way, all participants had the same information about the history of colonization, the history of immigration in relation to internment camps and residential schools, as well as the present day experiences of members of the immigrant and Aboriginal communities. By challenging misinformation and stereotypes which breeds racism and discrimination about Aboriginal people and immigrants, this arts engagement project will helped to create an inclusive community and promote multiculturalism. This project is unique in that it is not solely examining residential schools or internment camps, but it is bringing diverse groups together affected by either parts of this history to share, reflect and express through art how we move forward. This project is not about blame it is about the celebration of the survivors, families of survivors, friends and the community in taking this step on the path to reconciliation. The goal is to promote multiculturalism and build an inclusive community through reconciling with the past.


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Did you know?
• that there were 8,579 Ukrainians and other Europeans that include; Croatians, Serbians, Germans, Hungarians, Romanians, Slovenes, Slovakians, Turks, Bulgarians, Polish, Italians and Jews who were incarcerated in 24 camps across Canada during WW1
• that the British Columbia provincial internment camp was situated at McDonald Park in Vernon where W.L. Seaton Secondary School now stands. Men, women and children were held in that camp behind a barbed wire fence between 1914 and 1920
• many of our roads and national parks were built with the forced labour of these immigrants.
• that there were 88,000 more who were declared “enemy aliens” and unjustly forced to carry identification documents, disenfranchised, and subjected to various other discriminatory and repressive measures legislated by the government of Canada.


To view Educational Resources go to:

The Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund website: http://www.internmentcanada.ca, under resources.
When you click on Teachers’ Guides, the Critical Thinking Consortium free teachers’ guides and lessons will appear.
Under Pivotal Voices, Two videos developed as part of our Thinking about History series use examples of the Ukrainian internment to teach key historical concepts. Ethical Judgment (Students learn to question the motives of the Canadian government’s decision to intern Ukrainian Canadians during the First World War.) and Historical Significance. (Students learn to question why some important events are ignored as they compare the significance of the WWI internment of Ukrainian Canadians with the WWII internment of Japanese Canadians.)

Teachers are working with Michelle to integrate the mural experience into learning opportunities that will include Museum field trips with visits to the “wall”. Michelle would love to hear how she can support High School and Elementary teachers interested in availing themselves of this unique opportunity in our community.

The project, headed by local, artist Michelle Loughery, will serve to create memorial murals for communities affected by the internment of thousands of men, women and children of Ukrainian and European descent living within Canada during WW1. The murals, which will combine multi-media, traditional art and videography as well as historical photographs and personal stories from the families directly affected, are slated to appear in the affected communities across Canada over the next several years.

Between 1914-1920, thousands of Canadians of Ukrainians and Europeans were imprisoned in 24 internment camps across Canada, simply on the basis of their origins. For decades their stories were buried under fear and shame. The Canadian Government has finally recognized the interment operations, with the establishment of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund, (CFWWIRF) yet it still remains an unknown chapter in our nation’s history. As an internee descendent, Michelle Loughery heard stories of her grandfather (Gido) spending his entire life looking for his brother who had been working in a camp and then disappeared. Her great uncle was finally found in the document, Roll Call, as POW#47 interned at Banff/Castle Mountain, Alberta. It is not known what happened to him since his incarceration. Her mural healing work with First Nation families who have survived residential schools and the fact her own family had been marginalized makes this project an personal journey to help educate the future on the past failings of Canadian soil. As it is only in learning from the past, can we become the wings of a better future.

MICHELLE AND MICHAELLE JEAN  during Michelle’s presentation of the Sunflower Reconciliation Project Idea to Madame 2013



5 responses to DIVERSITY MURALS

  1. This project has been made possible in part by a grant from the Endowment Council of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund.

    Righting An Historic Injustice

    On 25 November 2005 Conservative MP Inky Mark’s private member’s Bill C-331, Internment of Persons of Ukrainian Origin Recognition Act received Royal Assent. Following negotiations with the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko the Government of Canada established the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund, 9 May 2008. The Endowment Council’s mandate is to support commemorative and educational initiatives that recall what happened during Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914-1920.

  2. Lois A Campbell says:

    It is so important to recognize there are moments in our Canadian history when bad things have happened to good people even at the hands of Canadians. We are regarded globally in such high esteem for the peaceful and generous roles we have played all over the world. So it comes as a surprise to many that our government has not always acted so forthright. The process of making things right, even after all these years, is a crucial lesson to teach our children. Through Internment plaques, ceremonies, re-writing history lessons and the artful visualization of Michelle Loughery, our children will learn adults can take responsibilities for their actions.

    #202-2090 Coutlee Avenue
    P.O. Box 188, Merritt, BC V1K 1B8
    Phone (250) 378-4235 Fax (250)378-9119
    E-mail: administration@nicolatribal.org

    Wednesday, May 08, 2013

    Re: Sunflower Mural Project

    We are pleased to provide a letter supporting the Sunflower Mural Project, in partnership with NVIT, for such a worthwhile and meaningful undertaking.
    As a result of discussions about our various programs, efforts, and goals, NVIT and the Nicola Tribal Association (NTA) have joined in partnership to focus on the local at-risk Native Young Adults and/or those of Native Ancestry.
    One of the major goals, or objectives, of the project is to provide an opportunity for the participants to move towards the completion of their Adult Dogwood Diploma via the medium of murals that will be located in the community. This also provides some, if not all, of the participants a very worthwhile opportunity to explore their cultural roots and heritage and, in some cases, connect with other people who are facing, and dealing with, similar issues that may be real barriers to their individual progress and development in life.
    Both of our organizations have been strengthened by collaborating on these opportunities for partnerships and believe this can be one of the best ways to identify, reach, and support our at-risk Young Adults in an urban setting. NVIT staff and Board bring life-enhancing educational programs and opportunities for higher learning to people of Native ancestry, community organizations, and business. This initiative will provide another avenue of support that will allow our people to change their lives for the better and move one step closer to achieving the goals and dreams they have set for themselves.
    R. R. (Rick) Yellow Horn
    Executive Director – Nicola Tribal Association

  4. Barbra says:

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  5. Edythe says:

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