The Williams Lake First Nation is planning a full search of a former residential school.
The St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981 and has since been demolished.
It was operated by the Roman Catholic Church from July 1891 to March 31, 1969. The federal government then managed and operated the school until it closed.
The First Nation is now launching a survey of the land surrounding the former site.
It will use the same ground-penetrating radar technology used at the former residential school in Kamloops.
“You want to say that you’re not going to find anything, but judging by the stories, I mean, that’s just a reality,” Kúkpi7 (Chief) Willie Sellars told Global News.
“I continue to hear the stories and get shown maps and be pointed out on where these areas are that we want to test right away, but making sure that we’re approaching it strategically and co-ordinated so we’re not fumbling around and, you know, again, falling back on ceremony, falling back on making sure the supports are in place for those people that are that are going to be working on the front lines in our community, that are going to be struggling if something is to be found.”
Earlier this month, the federal government pledged $27 million to help Indigenous communities locate the remains of children who died at residential schools.
The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience