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Indigenous-owned Campbell River store raising money for pair of post-secondary scholarships

Wildflower & Co. wants to help pay for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit students’ schooling
Wildflower & Co.’s Alissa Assu is auctioning off a hand-made cedar basket as part of an initiative to raise money for two post-secondary scholarships for indigenous students. Ronan O’Doherty/ Campbell River Mirror

A local store owner is hoping to make education a key tool for honouring this year’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30.

Alissa Assu, who operates Wildflower & Co. in Campbell River’s Tyee Plaza, is drawing from her own experience to make schooling more feasible for post-secondary students who want to make a difference in their communities.

”I think everyone is so caught up in wearing an orange shirt, and that’s amazing,” she said. “But beyond that. I’m thinking what’s more important than the orange shirt itself is a call to action.

“My call to action is education, and always keeping our community informed and accountable.”

She is holding a raffle, the proceeds of which will be put towards two $1,500 scholarships for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit students who are highly involved in their community while they are studying.

Up for grabs is a beautiful hand-woven cedar basket, made by local Haida/Kwakwakwa’wakw artist Avis O’Brien.

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Assu said Wildflower & Co. will donate the difference if the $3,000 goal is not met, and will aim for a third scholarship if they exceed it.

The raffle ends at midnight on Sept. 30, and tickets are $10.

She plans to offer the scholarships biannually for the fall and winter semesters.

While attending Simon Fraser University and Langara College, the Wet’suwet’en store owner said she was continuously scrambling to make ends meet.

Assu’s involvement with Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre, and volunteering work she did helped her achieve some bursaries, and she wants to pay it forward.

“Now, more than ever, there’s a need to make education accessible,” she said.

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