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

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

BC Wildfire Service (Black Press Media files)
Fire at Eleven Mile Creek near Hope classified as out of control

It’s a small blaze so far at 20 hectares, but firefighters don’t yet have a handle on it

Temperature records were broken for June 21, 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
Record-breaking heat shimmered across Fraser Valley for second day

Tuesday should be a bit cooler says forecast from Environment Canada

Tourism Abbotsford has launched the ‘Let’s Go Do Something’ campaign to encourage visitors to check out all Abbotsford has to offer. (Tourism Abbotsford photo)
Tourism Abbotsford launches ‘Let’s Go Do Something’ campaign

Visitors encouraged to check out all Abbotsford has to offer this summer

Emil Anderson Maintenance is mowing the shoulder along Lougheed Highway in Agassiz, asking motorists to use extra caution around slow-moving vehicles on Tuesday and Wednesday. (Graphic/Emil Anderson Maintenance)
TRAFFIC: Slow-moving mowers working on Highway 7 shoulders in Agassiz on Tuesday, Wednesday

Mowing takes place Tues., Weds. between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

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

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in December that Surrey’s new hospital will be located in Cloverdale, next to KPU. (File photo: Malin Jordan)
Health minister expects construction of Surrey’s new hospital in Cloverdale to begin in 2023, open in 2027

Adrian Dix spoke Tuesday in a Zoom meeting hosted by the Surrey Board of Trade concerning the new hospital

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)
Penticton heads to court over homeless shelter as BC Housing audit begins

The city was not satisfied with the response from Minister David Eby regarding the ongoing situation

People enjoy the sun at Woodbine Beach on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
BC Hydro assures customers it has ‘more than enough’ power to weather the heatwave

Despite an increase of pressure on the Western grid, blackouts are not expected like in some U.S. states

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

When they last met, Giants fell 3-0 to the Prince George Cougars. Both will renew their rivalry in Maple Ridge on Sept. 24. (Allen Douglas/Special to Black Press Media)
Vancouver Giants to play preseason games in Maple Ridge, Delta

Exhibition schedule will start in September

Police closed off 16th Avenue between 232nd and 240th streets in Aldergrove Saturday night at the site of a reported motor vehicle accident. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Survivors of rollover crash thank Good Samaritans for coming to their aid

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

Most Read