WATCH: Kamloops bound convoy greeted by Canim Lake Band in 100 Mile House

Elizabeth Pete is a survivor of St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Elizabeth Pete is a survivor of St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Barb Archie and Joanne Dick held signs thanking the truckers for their support of Indigenous peoples impacted by the revelation 215 children were buried in unmarked graves on the Kamloops Residental School. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Barb Archie and Joanne Dick held signs thanking the truckers for their support of Indigenous peoples impacted by the revelation 215 children were buried in unmarked graves on the Kamloops Residental School. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Joseph Archie, Canim Lake Band’s cultural enrichment worker, was touched by how many people answered his call to stand in solidarity with the convoy heading to Kamloops. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Joseph Archie, Canim Lake Band’s cultural enrichment worker, was touched by how many people answered his call to stand in solidarity with the convoy heading to Kamloops. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Around a dozen of those who gathered to honour the convoy brought drums and sang as the trucks passed. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Around a dozen of those who gathered to honour the convoy brought drums and sang as the trucks passed. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Around a dozen of those who gathered to honour the convoy brought drums and sang as the trucks passed. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Around a dozen of those who gathered to honour the convoy brought drums and sang as the trucks passed. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Around a dozen of those who gathered to honour the convoy brought drums and sang as the trucks passed. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Around a dozen of those who gathered to honour the convoy brought drums and sang as the trucks passed. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Around a dozen of those who gathered to honour the convoy brought drums and sang as the trucks passed. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Around a dozen of those who gathered to honour the convoy brought drums and sang as the trucks passed. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Former Canim Lake Band chief Mike Archie raises his drum in salute as car and trucks honk at the gathered community members of the Canim Lake Band and 100 Mile House. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Former Canim Lake Band chief Mike Archie raises his drum in salute as car and trucks honk at the gathered community members of the Canim Lake Band and 100 Mile House. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Around a dozen of those who gathered to honour the convoy brought drums and sang as the trucks passed. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Around a dozen of those who gathered to honour the convoy brought drums and sang as the trucks passed. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Members of the Canim Lake Band and 100 Mile House community welcome a convoy of trucks passing through town on the way to the Kamloops Residental School. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Members of the Canim Lake Band and 100 Mile House community welcome a convoy of trucks passing through town on the way to the Kamloops Residental School. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Members of the Canim Lake Band and 100 Mile House community welcome a convoy of trucks passing through town on the way to the Kamloops Residental School. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Members of the Canim Lake Band and 100 Mile House community welcome a convoy of trucks passing through town on the way to the Kamloops Residental School. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Members of the Canim Lake Band and 100 Mile House community welcome a convoy of trucks passing through town on the way to the Kamloops Residental School. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Members of the Canim Lake Band and 100 Mile House community welcome a convoy of trucks passing through town on the way to the Kamloops Residental School. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Members of the Canim Lake Band and 100 Mile House community welcome a convoy of trucks passing through town on the way to the Kamloops Residental School. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Members of the Canim Lake Band and 100 Mile House community welcome a convoy of trucks passing through town on the way to the Kamloops Residental School. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

A trucker convoy heading to Kamloops to honour the 215 children whose remains were found at the Kamloops Indian Residential School received honours of its own Saturday as it passed through 100 Mile House.

More than two dozen members of the Tsq’escenemc people (Canim Lake Band), along with members of the 100 Mile House community, cheered the convoy of trucks as they passed by Saturday morning. A dozen drummers stood on the side of Highway 97 outside the South Cariboo Visitor Centre, playing traditional songs that mingled with the horns of honking semis.

The event was organized by Joseph Archie, Canim Lake’s cultural enrichment worker, who said he was blown away by the response to his Facebook post. Archie said the gathering was to show solidarity and support for what the truckers were doing. He was proud to see that the District of 100 Mile House’s Mayor Mitch Campsall and Coun. Chris Pettman, along with the Cariboo Regional District’s Al Richmond and Margo Wagner, had come to join them.

“It brings warmth and helps to heal. It shows someone is doing something which is really good to see,” Archie said. “Seeing the support from different groups of people is pretty amazing.”

This was especially important for residential school survivors like Elizabeth Pete.

Pete attended St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake for several years, starting in the fall of 1954. Before she went, her mother cut her hair short for the first time in her life. Without her long braid, she looked so different that friends from Canim Lake didn’t recognize her at the school.

“In my childhood mind, I think I adapted to the place. My adult mind learned to look back and judge,” Pete said. “I didn’t call that place a prison when I was a child but my adult mind learned to.”

READ MORE: Indigenous communities rocked by Kamloops residential school burial discovery

While Pete considers herself one of the luckier survivors, she still remembers the impact the mission had on her life. She wasn’t a victim of sexual abuse, but silence and obedience were expected and enforced by corporal punishment, Pete said. She described how once a nun struck her arms with a yardstick and left a bruise from her elbow to her wrists.

“I remember all of us. We were supposed to be learning, but there was always this tension – this fear. We weren’t relaxed in the classroom. If we didn’t know the answer, then you’d get the ruler across the desk.”

Archie is hopeful the newfound support from the Canadian public will continue in the future, and encouraged the local politicians to pass the message on to higher levels of government.

“Our Prime Minister Trudeau is quick to put the blame on the church but the government could have stopped funding and quit the residential schools but they didn’t,” Archie said. “There’s got to be some accountability there for sure.”

Pete questions how much money the government spent operating the schools over the years and wonders if the government officials who funded them cared or simply turned their backs on children unable to defend themselves. To those in government today who are unwilling to confront this history, she says “shame on them.”

Chief Helen Henderson was also in attendance and said this experience was as heartfelt as it was heart-wrenching. Henderson said the drumming made her heart happy and that she cried when she heard about the convoy.

“The tears flow freely now, and when I see non-Indigenous humans reach out and show their support to all Secwepemc in such a public way, (it) means a lot to us as Secwempec people.”

Henderson said it’s important that everyone remembers that 215 children were denied their “cross over songs.” These songs are sung loud to awaken their ancestors to accept the spirits of the children and Henderson said they’ll continue to sing them until those children are brought home.

“We’re still here. We’re still strong,” Pete said. “When I was hearing about the 215 children in Kamloops I was thinking they had parents. That’s 200-plus mothers, 200-plus fathers. They had paternal grandparents, maternal grandparents. Our communities have extended, tight-knit, families.”

Henderson maintains all the stories about residential school, both known and unknown, need to be heard and acknowledged, for the sake of the new generations.

“I don’t know what reconciliation looks like but events like this are a small step towards reconciliation and recognizing this is our history,” Henderson said. “The more we connect to non-Indigenous folks and teach the history of our culture, our territory and our experiences, I think that it puts us that much closer truly to reconciliation.”



patrick.davies@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

100 Mile House

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Work has begun on the $10-million, 120-kilometre fibre-optic line from Playmor Junction to north of Nakusp. File photo
Work begins on Slocan Valley fibre-optic line

The $10-million, 120-kilometre fibre-optic line runs from Playmor Junction to north of Nakusp

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Jade Osecki leading a Fridays for Future climate march in Nelson in 2020. Photo: Submitted
Nelson Grade 12 student Jade Osecki wins Suzy Hamilton Award

Carolyn Schramm was also honoured in this year’s environmental award for West Kootenay women

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Athena and Venus, ready to ride. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Goggling double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to B.C. commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
B.C. casino workers laid off during pandemic launch class-action lawsuit

Notice of civil claim filed in Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo against Great Canadian Gaming

A Photo from Sept. 2020, when First Nations and wild salmon advocates took to the streets in Campbell River to protest against open-pen fish farms in B.C.’s waters. On Dec. 17, federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan announced her decision to phase out 19 fish farms from Discovery Islands. Cermaq’s application to extend leases and transfer smolts was denied. (Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror)
Feds deny B.C.’s Discovery Island fish farm application to restock

Transfer of 1.5 million juvenile salmon, licence extension denied as farms phased out

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Cards from all over the world flood in for B.C. man’s 100th birthday

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

FILE – Nurse Iciar Bercian prepares a shot at a vaccine clinic for the homeless in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, June 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
B.C. scientists to study effectiveness of COVID vaccines in people with HIV

People living with HIV often require higher doses of other vaccines

A 50-year-old woman lost control of her vehicle Tuesday, June 15, crashing through a West Vancouver school fence that surrounds playing children. (West Vancouver Police)
Driver ticketed for speeding near B.C. school crashes into playground fence days later

‘It’s an absolute miracle that nobody was injured,’ says Const. Kevin Goodmurphy

Dr. Réka Gustafson, who is British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer, speaks during a news conference in Vancouver on April 8, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. public health officials prepare to manage COVID-19 differently in the future

Flu-like? Health officials anticipate shift from pandemic to communicable disease control strategies

Most Read