VANCOUVER- Indigenous leaders have called a meeting with RCMP in Chilliwack, B.C., to discuss how police intend to proceed after the driver of a pickup truck allegedly hit four members of a memorial march on Saturday.
Garett Dan, captain of the British Columbia chapter of the Crazy Indians Brotherhood, says the meeting will involve the chiefs of several Fraser Valley First Nations.
Dan helped organize the weekend memorial march in Mission, B.C., to draw attention to the issue of residential schools and says a man had been goading marchers even before the walk began.
A news release from Mission RCMP said four people were hit by what police initially termed an “impatient driver” who could not pass the marchers in the only eastbound lane of the Lougheed Highway, near the former St. Mary’s residential school.
Two of the marchers suffered minor injuries, while RCMP said a 77-year-old man came forward on Monday and his truck was seized for examination, but he was not in custody.
Dan says the Mounties have said it takes time to conduct an investigation and they have not given any indication that charges are pending.
“They are holding his truck more accountable than him. They kept his truck but they let him go home,” said Dan, adding police handling of the case makes him very upset.
The march to the former residential school was emotional, said Dan, because participants were calling for ground-penetrating radar to search the site for possible unmarked graves of children who did not survive their forced attendance at the St. Mary’s institution.
Despite that, Dan said a man in a pickup told marchers to “get over” residential schools.
“Our people went through a lot of trauma and abuse in residential school and it’s not like they can just blank that out,”said Dan.
“It’s exactly like telling a vet to get over the war.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2022.
(With files from Kelly Geraldine Malone)