St. Joseph’s Mission Investigation Activity Summary for the period of October 16 to October 22, 2021

This week GeoScan is working on site, in some of the hayfield areas to gather more data related to GPR and magnetometry. Crews from Borland Creek Logging have been hard at work removing the long grass from any areas they are working on, before it becomes too wet to work.

Caption: Julia Flinton and Leo Michel mapping features on site at SJM.

WLFN is working to finalise a date to deliver the preliminary results of the geophysical work. That date is still being discussed as the GeoScan team continue to assess the SJM site but, we are hoping to be able to provide a tentative date by next week.

The current study area for SJM has been expanded from the original proposal, which was initially 460 hectares. This area includes large portions of the valley however, as the survivor interviews progress, it has become apparent that we also need to focus our search on areas outside of that boundary. The study area has now been extended to encompass the foreshore of Yellow Lake.

SJM Investigation area, yellow is initial area, orange is expanded area.

The Terrestrial LiDAR processing is now complete. Terrestrial LiDAR is a scan which creates a 3D image of building structures. This will enable the WLFN team to create 3D models of the SJM site, with accompanying photos. An example of the work that will be completed can be seen on the Matterport website here.

Example of 3D Place Exploration, which will be employed at the SJM site.

The SJM investigation team conducted an interview this past week with Margaret Setah, and her daughter Beverly Quilt from Stone First Nation. Margaret attended the St. Joseph’s Mission during the 1950’s.

On a more personal note, Williams Lake First Nation is still heavily focused on improving health and wellness supports for community members, amidst the SJM investigation. In addition to our weekly clinicians, we will be implementing regular healing and support groups as we realise not everyone prefers one-on-one sessions.

We are also introducing a trauma training workshop for Community, Chief, Council and staff members at WLFN. The sessions will be conducted with Patricia Vickers, and centre around mental health. Dave Archie will also be helping to organise more cultural wellness activities, related to connection with the land, with culture and with one another, such as a hunting camp or medicine picking.