Welcome to the Indian Child Caravan Digital Collection

Notice - In fall 2022, the Indian Child Caravan collection will be migrated to a new, more secure site with additional features. Users will be able to save items to their research accounts and provide annotations.

UBCIC is pleased to present this digital collection. We invite your perusal and participation in this collection. Upon registration, users can leave comments on material in the collection as well as participate in forum discussions. In addition, we encourge contributions from individuals who may have additional material (photos, oral histories, video, etc). If you have questions about contributing, please contact the site administrator at library@ubcic.bc.ca.

In 1980, the Spallumcheen Band Chief and Council passed a by-law for the care of Indian Children. This by-law was passed in reaction to an alarmingly high percentage of Indian children being removed from their homes by non-band agencies. The Spallumcheen band recognised the vital importance of the children to the community and wished to assert their authority to care for their children. The Band argued that the removal of the children from their homes not only had a detrimental impact on the child but also had an adverse effect upon the strength and social order of the community. They wished to find suitable solutions and arrangements within their own community and resort to non-Indian placement only as a last resort.

UBCIC’s support played an important role in the Spallumcheen’s Bands fight by providing office space, organizing the media and ensuring that the issue was brought to the public's attention. The UBCIC provided the impetus for the generation of province-wide interest in the issue. The Indian Child Caravan was a march and demonstration which took place in Vancouver, BC and eventually lead to the Minister of Social Services for the province of BC. The subsequent meeting of the Minister of Social Service, Grace McCarthy with the band lead to an agreement which gave the Spallumcheen control over their own child welfare program.

The Indian Child Caravan took place over Thanksgiving weekend, October 9-13, 1980.

The Caravan began in Prince George and picked up more people along its route. The group advanced to Williams Lake and Mount Currie, and merged with people from the Interior and Vancouver Island communities before culminating with a rally in Vancouver.

The digital collection includes material from the Union's newsletter, Indian World: The Choice is Ours, audio recordings, video recordings of interviews with the main organizer, Chief Wayne Christian, and approximately 200 photos.