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Widdowson, contributor to the book Grave Error, coming to Quesnel

Contributing writer hopes to meet with Quesnel councillors, public, regarding book’s content
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St. Joseph’s Mission (also known as Williams Lake or Cariboo Residential School) was opened by Roman Catholic missionaries in 1891. The school closed in 1981. (Photo from the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre, UBC)

Quesnel is being paid a visit by one of the contributing writers of a controversial book in recent local discourse.

Frances Widdowson told The Observer, “I will be coming to Quesnel on Tuesday (Apr. 2) to attend the regular council meeting and ask questions about the denunciation of Grave Error. I will also be available to talk about the book with the media, councillors, and the public to correct the misinformation that councillors have been perpetrating about it.”

The book’s full title is Grave Error: How The Media Misled Us (And The Truth About Residential Schools). It was compiled by C.P. Champion and Tom Flanagan.

“Grave Error was written to correct the false claim of the Kamloops band that the ‘remains of 215 children’ had been found in the apple orchard next to the school,” said Widdowson. “The book recognizes that abuse occurred and that many were harmed by the schools, but this does not mean that there was a genocidal intent to destroy indigenous people.”

The book was denounced by Quesnel city council after it was revealed the mayor’s wife was distributing the book, which reflected badly in the eyes of the Lhtako Dene Nation on whose First Nations jurisdiction Quesnel stands, and with whom the City of Quesnel is in partnership. The residential school system directly affected their population in generational fashion, along with other local residents of Indigenous descent who were interned in such schools. Those effects radiate into modern society.

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