Standing in solidarity with Williams Lake First Nation

January 25, 2022

Over the past eight months, Indigenous communities have located the final resting places of thousands of children who never made it home from residential school.

These children died while in the care of church and government officials. They died while separated from their families and loved ones. They died away from the land their ancestors had called home for generations. They died disconnected from their families’ traditional way of life.

Today, the Williams Lake First Nation released its initial findings from its investigation on the grounds of the former St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School. Using a variety of investigative techniques, the Williams Lake First Nation announced they discovered 93 reflections in the ground, 50 of which are not believed to be associated with the historic cemetery. The reflections are generated by the technology used in the search and represent what could be buried human remains. 

As a University community, we stand in solidarity with the Williams Lake First Nation and all Indigenous People as they grieve for the children who never came home, by wearing our orange shirts, by being present and available to have necessary conversations, and providing support for anyone in need.

We honour the Residential School Survivors and their families who shared their stories that helped to shape the investigation into unmarked graves and we recognize the trauma of recounting those stories. 

For anyone seeking support, please consider some of the following on- and off-campus resources.

  • For students, the First Nations Centre (Cher Mazo, Student Service Representative, Aboriginal 250-960-5772) and UNBC Counselling Services (250-960-6369) provide programming and support.
  • UNBC employees can access the Employee and Family Assistance Program at 1-800-663-1142 for confidential, professional counselling.
  • For Residential School survivors and their families, there is 24-hour support available through the Indian Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.


Geoff Payne
President and Vice-Chancellor (Interim)

Mark Dale
Provost and Vice-President Academic (Interim)

Henry Harder
Vice-Provost, Indigenous Initiatives