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

Traffic will be diverted through Radium along highways 93 and 95 as a part of the closures. (Claire Palmer photo)
Extended closures to Trans-Canada Highway announced east of Golden this fall

It’s the second round of extended closures as a part of Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

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

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Photograph By MICHAEL POTESTIO.KTW
Former Kamloops security gaurd wants job back after kicking incident caught on video

Rick Eldridge quit when a video surfaced of him kicking a man outside a facility for homeless

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

People participated in a walk to honour the 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school, as well as residential school survivors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with walk to remember Kamloops 215

“Let’s speak the truth and deal with the truth, and heal.”

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

A home on Cameo Drive sustained major damage due to an early morning fire Monday, June 21. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Fire sparked during Vernon home renovation

Heavy black smoke from Cameo Drive home, no one inside

The new Civic Memorial Park will incorporate pieces of the 80-year-old arena it replaces. (Artists rendering)
Pieces of Civic Arena reclaimed for new Vernon park

City centre space to incorporate wood from the historic arena

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

Most Read