Tuesday, January 25, 2022 5:15 PM
Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, issued the following statement in response to Williams Lake First Nation’s preliminary findings regarding the former St. Joseph’s Mission residential school:
“I raise my hand to Williams Lake First Nation and the courage and leadership they have shown in sharing their preliminary findings, further highlighting the harmful history and legacy of the residential school system here in British Columbia.
“Since May of last year, British Columbians have come to terms with what residential school survivors have always known. The disappearances and deaths of First Nations children in residential schools are well documented in the final report and findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Today’s release of preliminary findings at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission residential school near Williams Lake reaffirms our collective resolve to find answers for former students and their families.
“With this news, residential school survivors, intergenerational survivors, their friends and families are once again forced to face a tragedy that contributes to the trauma that affects communities to this day.
“As we have done since the beginning of this process, our government will be there to support Williams Lake First Nation as they continue their journey toward truth, healing and justice for former students and affected families. by St. Joseph’s Mission boarding school. There are still many difficult decisions to be made, and we will continue to work with Williams Lake First Nation to ensure they have the support and resources necessary to move forward with their investigation.
“News of these findings will likely bring back many painful memories for residential school survivors and their families. Supports are available. We urge all in need to seek help, and we stand with all families and communities working together to support each other on such a difficult day. We recognize the extraordinary strength and resilience shown by more and more communities as they take on the difficult but necessary task of finding answers for families who have lost children.
Support Services for Residential School Survivors in British Columbia:
- First Nations Health Authority: https://www.fnha.ca/what-we-do/mental-wellness-and-substance-use/residential-schools
- Indian Residential School Survivors Society, phone: 604 985-4464 or toll free: 1 800 721-0066
- Tsow-Tun Le Lum for Indigenous Peoples of British Columbia, phone: 1-888-403-3123
- The Métis Crisis Line for Métis in British Columbia is available 24 hours a day at 1-833-638-4722
- The KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides a 24-hour provincial crisis line for Indigenous peoples in British Columbia.
- Adults, call 250 723-4050
- Children and young people, call 250 723-2040, toll free: 1 800 588-8717