St. Joseph’s Mission Investigation – Activity Summary for the period of October 02 to October 08, 2021

This week, several key events occurred with the project team. A portion of the terrestrial LiDAR scanning, including within and surrounding St. Joseph’s Mission, has been completed. The digital processing of these scans is currently ongoing, and we are excited to receive the final images over the coming months.

The Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) fieldwork is ongoing, and the GeoScan team will be returning on Tuesday, October 12th to continue their work. Field technicians and WLFN staff continue to work with the team daily, to ensure the search progresses smoothly.

WLFN would also like to welcome a staff member, Dominique Melanson, who joined our team as the Administrative Coordinator for the SJM Investigation, this past week. Dominique recently graduated from the University of Victoria with a Diploma in Local Government Management. Dominique will provide critical administrative support to the team working on the investigation of the St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School site.

Two new survivor interviews were completed this past week including Elders from Nazko and Ulkatcho, by elders who were 92 and 94 years old. They attended St. Joseph Mission during the 1930’s, during the time that SJM was an Industrial School, and are some of the only few remaining alive to tell their stories today.

Caption: Theresa Holte and her daughter, Chief Linda Price attend the SJM Survivor Interview, Photo with Charlene Belleau and Nancy Sandy. has agreed that she and her family are willing to participate in the ongoing documentary.

On the archival front, several advances have been made in records research and management. Aaron Blake Evans has been working to identify important archival records, including those housed at the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council (NSTC). He is currently focused on locating and reviewing interviews that were conducted by Margaret Whitehead and Elizabeth Furniss, authors of The Cariboo Mission: A history of the Oblates, and Victims of Benevolence. WLFN is very grateful to the NSTC staff for their time and perseverance in digitizing and providing records to WLFN.

Caption: St. Joseph’s Mission, in the Industrial school era.

The team is currently reviewing an list of recommended software, for developing and implementing a SJM Database. This software will be incredibly helpful when information is needed quickly, for example, during the interview process.