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

This black GM Terrain crosses the centre line and collided with an oncoming GMC Acadia in Langley, flipping both vehicles. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Survivors of rollover crash in Langley thank Good Samaritans for coming to their aid

Collision flipped vehicle into a 10-foot ditch on 16th Avenue

Participants in the 2019 Valley GranFondo wait for the starting signal in 2019. The event, which had to be called off because of the pandemic, is tentatively set to resume in 2022. (Langley Advance Times file)
No GranFondo cycling event in Fort Langley this year

Organizer hopes to be back for 2022

Shannon Todd Booth, the Langley Hospice Society communication and funds manager, with some of the ceramic hearts on sale at Saturday’s fundraiser at the Fort Langley Community Hall. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
First in-person fundraiser by Langley Hospice Society a success

For society volunteers and members of the Fraser Valley Potters Guild, it was a good day

Langley standup comedian Susan Thompson said the cost of her return-to-Canada quarantine in hotel was more than she made during a working trip to the U.S. (Canadian Press/Special to Langley Advance Times)
An expensive return home for Langley standup comedian

Susan Thompson scored work in Las Vegas, but a compulsory hotel COVID quarantine put her in the red

New Langley dining establishment The Barley Merchant was staffing up to open. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
With dining-in back on the menu, Langley restaurants are getting busy again

With the end of the ‘circuit breaker,’ staff are being hired and new looks are being unveiled

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pilots say no reason to continue quarantines for vaccinated international travellers

Prime minister says Canada still trying to limit number of incoming tourists

Val Litwin is the latest candidate to declare his bid for the B.C. Liberal leadership. (Litwin campaign video)
Political newcomer joins contest for B.C. Liberal leadership

Val Litwin a former B.C. Chamber of Commerce CEO

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

Most Read