On December 7, 2021, Chief and Council of the Williams Lake First Nation issued a press release announcing the postponement of the release of the preliminary geophysical results from Phase 1 of the St. Joseph’s Mission investigation.
“After engagement with St. Joseph’s Mission survivors, our members, and other communities we had initially concluded that it would be best to make full disclosure of our results immediately after we received them,” states WLFN Chief, Willie Sellars. “However, since we made our announcement that there would be a public session to reveal the results on December 10, a number of communities have come forward and made it clear that they do not have the necessary health and wellness supports in place to address any issues that might arise from the release of these results. It has also become clear that people around the province are still struggling in response to recent natural disasters and we wish to avoid causing people affected by these disasters any additional stress or suffering. For these reasons we are persuaded to delay the public release of the results until the New Year.”
The revised date for the release of the preliminary geophysical results has been tentatively set for Tuesday, January 25, 2022. Additional details regarding the time and venue for that meeting will be forthcoming in January.
On Monday, December 6th, Canada’s Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller stated that the federal government will soon release some of the residential school records that have been withheld from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR). The Centre called the decision a “significant moment” for survivors and Canada and the SJM team could not agree more with this statement. The SJM team is eager to receive these records as they pertain to government and Catholic Church documents. The SJM team believes that this is a major step towards accountability from the federal government.
The SJM team has a virtual meeting with the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and the BC RCMP on Tuesday, December 14th to discuss roles and responsibilities throughout the SJM investigation and best practices for moving forward. The SJM team is looking forward to meeting with these parties in hopes that a relationship and trust can be built moving forward with the investigation.