Tahltan ‘Welcome Home’ Booklet Released


The Welcome Home gathering was hosted by the Tahltan Band Council in 2013. This booklet strives to capture the spirit and highlights of the event. (Click on image to view booklet.)

Last summer I was very fortunate to be invited to a “Welcome Home” celebration hosted by the Tahltan Band Council in Telegraph Creek, BC. The event was for former students of residential schools and their families.

Over 500 people attended this very moving gathering and ceremony. My role was to take photos and document the event, and then create a publication that would capture the spirit and highlights of the gathering.

The booklet’s introduction describes why the Welcome Home gathering was held:

Over many decades in the 1900s, Tahltan children were forced into Canada’s residential school system.

Young children from our Nation were made to leave their families and attend schools such as La Jac and Lower Post in BC, the Coudert Residence, Yukon Hall, and Dawson City in the Yukon, and Grouiard in Alberta.

Those who later returned to their families and communities often said they felt like they did not fit in. Their experiences at school, which they usually bottled up inside of them, had a way of separating them from the people they loved. Many were angry at their parents and communities for letting them be taken away; they didn’t realize people had no choice.

A number of people never returned at all. Their connection to their families, their communities and their traditional lands had been broken. Sadly, some of our children died in residential school, and many were buried in unknown cemeteries and unmarked graves.

The Tahltan Nation, with the support of the Stikine Wholistic Working Group (SWWG), decided it was time to bring our people back together, to acknowledge and listen to the experiences of former students and their families, to help families reconnect and forgive each other, and to welcome everyone home.

I am pleased to announce that the booklet was released last month, along with a film of the gathering done by Gord Loverin of T’senaglobe Media (“Es Kime Ani” can be viewed on NativeFlix). They were both well received.

I hope the booklet helped people to remember the strength and resilience they felt at the event, and that it will have a small role at least in supporting the Tahltan Nation’s ongoing work on moving “forward together into a future of strong families, communities and culture.”

 [Readers interested in other healing gatherings may also want to read, UyidYnji Tl’aku (I let it go now), a booklet I was hired to create for Kwanlin Dun First Nation.]


Posted in Communications.


  1. Former students and their families have been talking about such graves for decades so it is really no surprise, except perhaps the numbers.

    And if you view the “North Boys” film (or even its trailer on YouTube), you will hear one of the two men featured on p. 14 of the “Welcome Home” booklet talk about how they had to stay at school year round as it was too far for them to go home. They were always put to work, and one summer they were forced to dig up and move the bodies of children.

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