‘It just took off’: Cree woman’s quilts for residential school survivors sew up support online

Ontario woman’s Quilts for Survivors project has already completed 200 quilts as gifts


Vanessa Genier wanted to help residential school survivors when the news of unmarked graves began to break.

And now, hundreds of people across the country — and all over the world — are helping survivors receive a gift of homemade quilts.

“I said, ‘Something has to be done. We have to do something for the survivors because those were their classmates, those were their families, their friends’,” says Genier, who is from Missanabie Cree First Nation and lives in Timmins, Ont.

“I knew I had to do something.”

Her passion has always been quilting so she took to social media to ask for help.

“It just took off. It went from five people in my group to now over 2,000 people in the group,” she says. “I wanted to make 18 quilts and we’ve done 200, almost 200.”

She set some deadlines and started connecting people with survivors. Group members sew the quilts which are then sent off.

“It’s just grown huge and overwhelming. I live in a very small home with two young children and I am a single mom and I work full time. It kind of went too big too soon.”

People who want to sew a quilt or receive one can join her Facebook group Quilts for Survivors.

Reporter / Saskatoon

Priscilla is Cree and a member of Mistawasis Nehiyawak in Saskatchewan. She has worked with APTN National News in the past as a reporter in Winnipeg, host for an entertainment segment, and the 2010 Winter Olympics. Wolf is an alumni of the INCA –Indian Communications Arts Program at FNUC & has a BA of Indigenous Studies from the University of Regina. She brings over ten years of experience working in media across the prairie provinces.