The end of uncertainty

The Committee on Abuse in Residential School Society has found funding. The drop-in centre for residential school survivors has received a grant from Yukon's branch of Health Canada.

The Committee on Abuse in Residential School Society has found funding.

The drop-in centre for residential school survivors has received a grant from Yukon’s branch of Health Canada.

“It’s the best news I’ve gotten in a real long time,” said executive director Joanne Henry. “We got our funding.”

While the agreement hasn’t been signed, emails between Henry and the regional department confirm the process is near completion.

CAIRS is finally safe, said Henry, picking up the drop-in centre’s reconnected phone to answer a call from a client.

She tells the caller the good news.

“You don’t have to worry anymore,” she told the caller, smiling.

“Every day, people were always asking, ‘Have you heard anything yet?’” she said in an interview. “I just want to thank everyone out there that supported us. In the end, that’s what made me keep working. A lot of times I was ready to quit, but that kind of support is what kept me going.”

Her strongest support came from artist-in-residence Vern Swan, she said.

“See, aren’t you glad I didn’t let you give up,” said Swan last week, when they read the funding email together.

“She is one of my biggest supporters as well,” said Swan. “I believe in Joanne. When you put something in her hands, she actually gets it done. When she became executive director, this place actually began to move again. I’ve brought a lot of ideas to her and she helped me get them into play and helped get us into communities.”

Now, with the new funding, they will be able to sit down and make long-term plans for the first time in more than a year, said Henry.

Which is helpful, because CAIRS was just told it has to move, said Henry.

The landlord of the Fourth Avenue storefront needs the space in about three months.

“But that’s OK,” said Henry, adding a new site hasn’t been selected just yet.

“So, yes, we are closing, but we’re reopening,” she said. “We’re reopening with new ideas, new objectives, new attitudes and with a whole new program.”

That includes many more workshops with a clear focus on survivors’ families as well as themselves, said Henry.

“CAIRS is going to go in a really good direction from here,” said Swan, noting the centre is more than just a job.

“It’s more like a lifeline for the people that come through here,” he said. “It gives them new direction and it’s a bridge between the elders and the young people. It brings them together.”

“It’s like the end of a long, long, hard battle,” said Henry. “Lots of hard work, lots of talking, lots of prayers, lots of support and lots of just hanging in there.

“It means that there’s still a place for residential school survivors to go to. It means we’re going to be here. There’s still hope, there’s still caring, there’s still work.”

But at about 4 p.m. Tuesday, Henry had only one thing left to do.

“Go home and sleep,” she said.

Health Canada is reserving comment until the agreement is finalized.

Cheque comes through

The Committee on Abuse in Residential School Society coffers are a little healthier thanks to local lawyer Dan Shier.

He delivered a $1,000 cheque to the organization last week, fulfilling a pledge he made during a five-hour radio fundraiser at the beginning of March.

He was one of the first donators, making the commitment before the show took place, said Joanne Henry, CAIRS’ executive director.

“It was just really nice of him to make the donation,” she said. “It’s come through now and so we’d just like to say a big thank you to Dan Shier and his organization. That was really nice of them.

“It adds to what we’ve got in the bank right now and carries us through a couple more bills.”

In total, $9,000 was pledged to support the organization during a five-hour radio pledge show at the beginning of March.

But by the beginning of this month, only $5,000 had actually come through. There is about $3,000 outstanding.

Dan Shier wouldn’t comment for this story.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

Just Posted

Northwestel says it is investigating into the cause of the total communications blackout throughout the territory after a power failure in Whitehorse on Wednesday night.
Internet outage prompts criticism on Dempster fibre project delays

The Liberals responded that they have proceeded cautiously to avoid high costs.

A motorcycle with driver pulled over on the right side of the North Klondike Highway whose speed was locked in at 171 kilometres per hour. (Courtesy/Yukon RCMP)
Patrols of Yukon highways find poorly-secured loads, intoxicated drivers

The ongoing patrols which police call ‘Operation Cooridor’ is mainly focused on commercial vehicles.

Awaken Festival organizers Meredith Pritchard, Colin Wolf, Martin Nishikawa inside the Old Firehall in Whitehorse on May 11. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Performing arts fest plans to awaken artistic talent in Whitehorse and the rural North

‘A value of ours is to make theatre as accessible as possible.’

April Mikkelsen tosses a disc during a ladies only disc golf tournament at Solstice DiscGolfPark on May 8. John Tonin/Yukon News
Yukon sees its first-ever women’s disc golf tournament

The Professional Disc Golf Assocation had a global women’s event last weekend. In the Yukon, a women’s only tournament was held for the first time ever.

Dave Blottner, executive director at the Whitehorse Food Bank, said the food bank upped its services because of the pandemic. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Food Bank sees Yukoners’ generosity firsthand

“Businesses didn’t know if they could stay open but they were calling us to make sure we were able to stay open.”

More than 25,000 people have received the firsdt dose of the vaccine, according to the Yukon government. (Black Press file)
Yukon has now vaccinated 76 per cent of eligible adults

The territory has surpassed its goal of 75 per cent as a first step toward ‘herd immunity’

A prescribed burn is seen from the lookout at Range Road and Whistle Bend Way in Whitehorse May 12. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Editorial: Are you ready for a forest fire?

Citizens for a Firesmart Whitehorse have listed some steps for Yukoners to boost safety and awareness

Caribou pass through the Dempster Highway area in their annual migration. A recent decision by the privacy commissioner has recommended the release of some caribou collar re-location data. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News)
Privacy commissioner recommends release of caribou location data

Department of Environment says consultation with its partners needed before it will consider release

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Family pleased youth will be able to get Pfizer vaccine

Angela Drainville, mother of two, is anxious for a rollout plan to come forward

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Most Read