Patrick Davies photo Williams Lake Indian Band Chief Willie Sellars smiles (from left) with local elders Virginia Gilbert, Millie Emile, Cecilia DeRose and TRU’s Norma Sure and Christy Smith of the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council at the unveiling of the new Indigenous Elder parking space.

TRU sets aside parking space for Indigenous Elders

TRU Williams Lake celebrated the unveiling of a new designated parking space for Indigenous Elders

TRU Williams Lake celebrated the unveiling of a new designated parking space for Indigenous Elders outside the campus this past week.

All told around 30 elders, community members and TRU students and staff gathered Friday to mark the occasion with a few brief speeches, a ceremonial drum circle and a blessing delivered by several local Elders. While it seems a small gesture, it’s an important part of recognizing the importance Indigenous Elders play in both their local communities and within the community of TRU itself.

The initial push that set events in motion was made by Cecilia DeRose, an Elder originally from Esket (Alkali Lake) who often will visit TRU throughout the school year either in a volunteer or teaching role. Often when she came to TRU to teach linguistic or cultural classes, she’d find it difficult or even impossible to find parking close to TRU. This would get especially bad in the winter with ice and snow or whenever she needed to backtrack for a toonie to pay for parking, which led to her lodging a formal complaint.

Read More: Calls for TRU to enhance nursing program heard at Envision TRU consultation

“It was just a pain in the butt,” DeRose remarked with a laugh.

DeRose is hopeful this new space, free for Elders, will make things easier for both her and the other elders who make frequent visits to TRU. Seeing it finally be set aside with its own sign was a real thrill for her, she said, and it will be something she intends to make avid use of.

TRU Williams Lake’s dean Baldev Pooni, a 30-year education veteran, was happy to help facilitate setting aside this space for DeRose and the other Elders. Pooni said it’s a part of TRU’s ongoing effort to create and maintain a welcoming environment for all, including Indigenous students.

“We’re fortunate to have the elders be on campus to support all students but in particular Indigenous students. They have busy lives coming in and off-campus for meetings… so this (parking space) is a small way of us being able to give back to the individuals for their immense contribution to TRU,” Pooni said.

If one space isn’t enough, Pooni said they’ll look into possibly adding more spots designated for Elders in the future. While it will cost TRU a small amount of money, he feels it’s important to not only recognize their contributions but also ensure their safety, as the parking lot has been known to get icy as winter sets in.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Just Posted

Fire Prevention Week: Dream to construct new building reality for Tyee Lake Volunteer Fire Department

We broke ground in April and Sept. 4 our firefighters moved our vehicles into the new facility

Fire Prevention Week: Riske Creek Volunteer Fire Department working to become official

“We all learned after the 2017 fires working together is our future.”

FIRE PREVENTION WEEK 2019: Not every hero wears a cape

Be your own hero. That’s the message this year for Fire Prevention Week.

Atom Development T-wolves get off to perfect start to 2019/20 season

Fulton said he’s looking forward to being behind the bench for the season

B.C.’s rural paramedic program expands, with home support

Advanced care ambulance staff added for six communities

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

BC Ferries filling up fast with post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Monday anticipated to be busiest day of the weekend

‘Wham-bam out the door’: Surrey man’s front yard left ruined by scamming landscaper

Resident warns neighbours to be careful of door-to-door salesmen

Most Read