A year after spearheading the Let Them Play mural project on Sylvan’s Lakeshore Drive, resident Tracey Grienke is continuing to spread awareness and positive messaging with her Let Them Play Apparel company.
“We had the unveiling last year on the first Truth and Reconciliation Day,” Grienke said of the mural. “I just wanted to continue educating people about the Indigenous culture. A lot of people just don’t know. I decided to make learning T-shirts, I call them; they have Indigenous symbolism on them and they come with a card explaining what those images mean.”
Grienke has been educating people, one T-shirt at a time.
“I started collaborating with Indigenous artists and I created some myself,” she said of the T-shirts. “I’m pretty proud of it.”
Grienke said people have been responding to the product, buying T-shirts and telling others about them. During the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation ceremony Sylvan Lake held on Sept. 30, town staff and councillors in attendance were wearing T-shirts Grienke has made.
“I’ve had a lot of people ask if it’s OK to wear an Indigenous T-shirt if they aren’t Indigenous, and of course it is,” Grienke said.
Grienke has been going to farmers markets and powwows to sell her product and get her name out there.
“Who knows where it will go,” she said of the business. “I just want to get my name out there and educate more.”
Part of the proceeds Grienke earns through her T-shirt sales she donates to the Stardale Women’s Group.
When it comes to moving forward, Grienke said the future is about learning what we can.
“It’s all about education and healing now,” she said. “That’s what I want. It’s coming slowly, but people are starting to honour it and saying, ‘This did happen.’ Canada isn’t perfect, we do have skeletons in our closet, and people are recognizing that.”
Grienke wants her T-shirts to send a positive message about Indigenous culture.
“My T-shirts aren’t anything negative or putting down the church,” she explained. “It’s all about learning, to move on and teach. And it’s not teaching about residential schools, it’s about teaching people about our culture.”
Let Them Play Apparel can be found online at letthemplayapparel.ca.