St. Joseph’s Mission Investigation Activity Summary for the period of September 25 to October 01, 2021

This week the second round of the Terrestrial LiDAR scanning was initiated. The scanning will be ongoing for several weeks, with focus on completing some areas near the CN Railway lines across the valley from the St. Joseph’s Mission site.

All the main structures on the SJM site have been scanned with terrestrial LiDAR, in order to make 3D models of their interiors. This week, the main structures have all been completed and are currently in post-processing. Several others smaller structures at the site are still set to be scanned.

Stage 1 of the Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) is still ongoing, and a preliminary results meeting was held on September 28th with WLFN Chief and Council. These results are currently in a draft stage and will receive several more quality control processes before they can be released as a report.

The St. Joseph Mission Investigation team would like to offer a warm welcome to Aaron Blake Evans. Aaron is an Archaeologist, Anthropologist and Archival Researcher based out of Vancouver who will be assisting the team with obtaining, researching, and creating a database of historical records from SJM.

Chief Willie Sellars, CAO Aaron Manella, and several technical staff have met with Deputy Ministers discuss the SJM investigation, and what may be required by the nation through the Attorney General’s office. The meeting focused investigation integrity, and discussions were advanced on the potential assignment of a special prosecutor to the investigation.

WLFN’s Health and Support workers met directly with First Nation Health Authority in order to discuss what health and wellness supports will be required for the community in ongoing months, and as results are released. FNAH was able to provide a comprehensive list of considerations, and these are being reviewed by the investigation team. All future health and wellness checks will be integrated with WLFN’s Cultural Coordinator.

Emergency Support Pamphlets have also been produced and will be distributed to all interviewees. They will be available at the front desk of both WLFN offices for whoever requires them. An online version will also be made available.

On September 30th, WLFN held a National Truth and Reconciliation Day event to honour the victims of Residential Schools. The event began with a vehicle convoy from St. Joseph’s Mission school to the Chief William Arbor.

A drumming circle performing the Honour Song commenced at 2:15pm, as did multiple others across Canada. This initiative was led by Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir who encouraged the world to drum for the children.