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MLA statement on former St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School discovery

WILLIAMS LAKE (January 25, 2022) – Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson and BC Liberal Critic for Indigenous Relations ​and Reconciliation Peter Milobar ​have released the following joint statement:

“Today’s announcement of the discovery of 93 reflections, indicating potential burial sites, near the former St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School is absolutely heartbreaking.

“The potential burial sites and the accounts of survivors detailing the horrors they endured at the school are further examples of the terrible legacy of residential schools, and the pain and loss they have caused for Indigenous people across the country. Our hearts go out to all those impacted by this discovery, especially the Williams Lake First Nation.

“In the wake of this tragic announcement we must come together as a community to both recognize the profound impact of residential schools that remains to this day and reiterate our steadfast commitment to meaningful reconciliation.

“We can never forget the children who lost their lives and we cannot let the injustice that allowed this to happen in the first place continue. We must continue to listen to survivors and their families and work to create a better, more inclusive future for everyone who calls our province home.

“We also want to acknowledge the work of the Williams Lake First Nation for its strength in pursuing this investigation and working through this difficult process to recognize the lives that were cut short, and to eventually bring healing to your community.

“As we join the Williams Lake First Nation as well as other Indigenous people in mourning, we reaffirm our commitment to reconciliation and to ensuring a better future for everyone in B.C.”

The national Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available to provide support for survivors and those impacted. People can access emotional and crisis referral services 24 hours a day by calling: 1-866-925-4419. Further resources comp​iled by the Indian Residential School Survivors Society can be found here.

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