ROTHENBURGER – Painful decisions coming on burial grounds search

Chief Willie Sellars at news conference. (Screen grab, WLFN)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

WILLIAMS LAKE FIRST NATION revealed the results yesterday of its investigation into possible burial sites on the grounds of St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School.

It was an emotional event, with support pouring in online from indigenous and non-indigenous people across the country.

WLFN Chief Willie Sellars began by reviewing the history of the school and the stories of abuses that occurred there between 1891 and 1981. He emphasized that results are preliminary but said details of future phases will be communicated as they become known.

Then came the bombshell: 93 “reflections” were located, 50 of which were outside a known cemetery in the area. They were found using ground-penetrating radar, a technology that became familiar to the public after last year’s discovery at the former residential school in Kamloops.


Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9648 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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