Findings at former St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School near Williams Lake

Dear Members

The CUPE 391 executive would like to acknowledge the devastating information shared by the Chief and Council of T’exelcemc (people of the Williams Lake First Nation) yesterday.

St. Joseph’s Mission Investigation – WLFN Releases Phase 1 Geophysical Results [Link]

Williams Lake is an area my family has hunted in for many years. We would always bring Salmon and Halibut to trade with the Nation so we had their blessing to take a moose from their territory and not just the permission of the colonial government.

Whenever these findings are in the news it tears open old wounds and drags anxiety out over the future.

The old legends say it will take seven generations to heal from the horrors of colonialism. My Elders back home would argue about if that meant 7 generations from contact or from the day we are seen as equals and healing begins.

With my Niece/ Nephew due in the next 1-3 weeks my family has been talking a lot about generational trauma and what that will mean for their future and the world they are growing into.

The Elders would speak when I was a child about how wonderful it was to see all the children running around and playing. As I grew older I realized this was because for most of their lives there were almost no children on the reserve. I would ask that everyone take a moment today to think about what our communities would look like with next to no children around. What would our neighborhoods here in the city look like without families, What would our libraries look like?

Please be kind to each other and to yourselves.

A reminder of the National Indian Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419 (available 24/7).

Members can also contact Homewood Health for support at or 1-800-663-1142.

Indigenous staff interested in accessing support from an Elder or Traditional Healer can ask for Homewood’s Indigenous Support Services.


Hych’ka Siem,

Johnathan Dyer


Johnathan Dyer

Acting President, CUPE Local 391

Vancouver, Gibsons, and Sechelt Public Library Workers