News

St. Joseph’s Mission Investigation – Activity Summary for the period of September 11 to September 17, 2021

This week we have begun the initial stages of 3D modeling the historic building, both inside and outside. The work is set to continue later this month. This work is being accomplished through terrestrial LiDAR imaging and point cloud collection. Our hopes are that being able to provide a 3D image of the site to interviewees will assist with their ability to visualise specific areas.

LiDAR acquires the coordinates of numerous points on land by emitting laser pulses toward these points and then measuring the distance from the device to the target. These points all form together to produce a 3D image of the environment. LiDAR can target many different materials, including non-metallic objects, rocks, rain, chemical compounds, aerosols, clouds, and even single molecules. The laser beam can map physical features with a very high resolution which will provide us with extremely detailed and accurate measurements for these buildings.

We would like to say a huge thank you to Pano Skrivanos from Inlailawatash LLP and Chad Beaulieu from TRUE Consulting for enabling us to get these Ground Control Points.

Photo: An example of LiDAR imaging showing a 3D image of a building.

Photo: Pano Skrivanos taking terrestrial LiDAR and drone imagery. Inlailawatash LLP is the archeology company from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation

Upon assessing the site, it was apparent that it was covered in a significant amount of debris. This week we have been working on removing this debris and disposing of it correctly. The main purpose of this is to remove any metal from the area, which would ultimately interfere with the magnetometry work that is currently ongoing.

We would like to thank James Doerfling from Jimco Services who is working in conjunction with Borland Creek Logging, SkyWest Environmental and Cariboo Disposal Services for helping us get the site cleared quickly and efficiently.

Photo: James Doerfling from Jimco Services using an excavator to remove debris from the St. Joseph’s Mission School site.

Meanwhile, the Ground Penetrating Radar and Magnetometry work is still ongoing. The original schedule is set for 35 days. Currently, the areas around the barns and corrals have been cleared and GPR has been completed.

We also received archival records from the Archdiocese of Vancouver this past week. These records include student photos, property photos, photos of the priests, brothers and staff, student enrollment records and annual returns of students.

Jennifer Sargent was instrumental in obtaining and delivering these records to us so we would like to thank her for all the help. We would also like to thank Archdiocese of Prince George. BC Provincial Archives Library and Archives Canada for helping us obtain this crucial information.

We are currently still conducting interviews with St. Joseph’s Mission survivors. This past week we completed three interviews and have eleven more scheduled to occur in the upcoming weeks.

One of the interviewees who recently provided her recollection of her time at St. Joseph’s Mission is Rosalin Sam from the St’at’imc Nation. Many Nations had their children sent to SJM from all over the province.

“I felt it was important to speak out and help to find our lost children,” said Rosalin. “The school is such a vast area of creeks, hills and ditches, so pointing out any areas I remember is important to ensure the investigation is a success.”

“I also felt it gave me the opportunity to gain closure from my time at the school, and my memories of abuse, beating, starvation and loneliness.”

“The result was amazing, I feel we can be a family again, that I can let go of the past and move on with my life.”

Photo: Rosalin Sam and her family attending the SJM Investigation Interview.

If you have any information you feel may help the SJM investigation, please send us an email at: sjmission@wlfn.ca