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Residential schools book contributor to attend council meeting following censure

By Quinn Patrick, True North Wire

One of the authors of a book discussing Canada’s residential school system will be attending an upcoming city council meeting in Quesnel, B.C., following a unanimous decision to denounce the book last month.

Frances Widdowson, a professor and contributor to Grave Error: How the Media Misled Us (and the Truth about Residential Schools), will attend Quesnel’s council meeting Tuesday meeting on April 2 to ask questions.

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 pm Tuesday at City Hall, 410 Kinchant St. in Quesnel.

Widdowson’s appearance is in response to a city council motion brought forth Mar. 19 to denounce the book as harmful. The motion passed unanimously.

The book is a collection of essays edited by C.P. Champion and Tom Flanagan and published by True North.

The motion followed news that Mayor Ron Paull’s wife, Pat Morton, had purchased several copies and distributed them in the community.

The Lhtako Dene Nation accused the book of downplaying the harms of residential schools.

“It has come to our attention that a person related to a member of the city’s elected (council) has been distributing a book entitled Grave Error,” wrote the Lhtako Dene Nation in a letter to the mayor and council last Tuesday.

The Indigenous group claimed that the book was “basically questioning the existence of Indian Residential Schools.”

Champion and Flanagan said this simply isn’t true.

“Despite the fact that there is absolutely nothing in Grave Error that questions the existence of Indian residential schools, Council members voted unanimously to denounce the book,” wrote the editors in a press release.

Widdowson said that she doubts any members of the city council have even read the book.

“The major issue discussed in Grave Error,” said Widdowson in a press release, “is the fact that it has been falsely claimed that there were over 200 clandestine burials at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. There is no evidence that this is the case, and it is highly unlikely as not one parent has claimed that their child went missing there.”


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