This man was to testify as a main witness to the abductions of children at the Kamloops and Mission Indian residential schools in October, 1964. He says that Queen Elizabeth and her husband showed up at the school without fanfare and that there was a picnic to which some of the children including himself went to, with the Queen and her husband Philip. He says that the Queen and her husband left with some of the children and that he never saw those children again.
The schools were run by the Roman Catholic Church at which Combes alleged that many of the children were tortured and abused and described his own abuse of being put on a rack and having several bones broken. He witnessed a little girl being thrown off a roof to fall to her death and he saw two of the priests burying a child in an orchard on one occasion. Here is his testimony:
"I am an Interior Salish spirit dancer and am 58 years old. I live in Vancouver, Canada. I am a survivor of the Kamloops and Mission Indian residential schools, both run by the Roman Catholic church. I suffered terrible tortures there at the hands especially of Brother Murphy, who killed at least two children. I witnessed him throw a child off a three story balcony to her death. He put me on a rack and broke some of my bones, in the Kamloop school basement, after I tried running away. I also saw him and another priest burying a child in the school orchard one night.
In October, 1964 when I was 12 years old, I was an inmate at the Kamloops school and we were visited by the Queen of England and Prince Phillip. I remember it was strange because they came by themselves, no big fanfare or nothing. But I recognized them and the school principal told us it was the Queen and we all got given new clothes and good food for the first time in months the day before she arrived.
The day the Queen got to the school, I was part of a group of kids that went on a picnic with her and her husband and some of the priests, down to a meadow near Dead Man’s Creek. I remember it was weird because we all had to bend down and kiss her foot, a white laced boot. After awhile, I saw the Queen leave the picnic with ten children from the school, and those kids never returned. We never heard anything more about them and never met them again even when we were older. They were all from around there but they all vanished.
The group that disappeared was seven boys and three girls, in age from six to fourteen years old. They were all from the smart group in class. Two of the boys were brothers and they were Metis from Quesnel. Their last name was Arnuse or Arnold. I don’t remember the others, just an occasional first name like Cecilia and there was an Edward. What happened was also witnessed by my friend George Adolph, who was 11 years old at the time and a student there too. But he's dead now."
William Combes was the sole survivor of a group of three aboriginal witnesses to the royal abductions. The Rev. Kevin Annett, Human Rights activist and writer, had seen William about 10 days before he died and said he looked very healthy, in fact better than ever, he said. Combes mate, Mae, said he'd just been assigned a new doctor who wanted him to check-in and stay at the hospital for some tests. There at the hospital, his health began to immediately deteriorate. He died suddenly of a still-undisclosed cause. The coroner will not disclose what William Combes died of.
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