The outpouring of support was swift after Williams Lake First Nation released the preliminary results of its ground analysis at the former St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School site on Tuesday, Jan. 25.
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson and BC Liberal critic for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Peter Milobar issued a joint statement saying the discovery of 93 reflections, indicating potential burial sites, was absolutely heartbreaking.
Murray Rankin, B.C.’s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation noted since May of last year British Columbians have been coming to terms with what residential school survivors have always known.
“The disappearance and deaths of First Nation children at residential schools is well documented in the final report and findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”
Interior Health president and CEO Susan Brown said the news continues to highlight the devastation caused by residential schools, noting Interior Health acknowledges the intergenerational trauma experienced by Indigenous peoples.
“May this moment be a turning point where past harms are addressed and everyone receives the equality, dignity and respect they deserve.”
During the city council meeting mayor and council and the city’s CAO wore orange ‘Every Child Matters’ T-shirts.
Mayor Walt Cobb opened the meeting saying the city was flying the Secwépemc flag and other flags at half-mast in respect of the findings.
Coun. Scott Nelson said the council is there to support First Nations as friends and neighbours.
Coun. Marnie Brenner, an Indigenous woman herself who was raised in a non-Indigenous family, fought back tears and hesitated before she spoke.
“I want to talk about the power of truth and what I find so heartbreaking is that our First Nations communities for so long have been dismissed and denied the honouring of their truth,” she said.
-Williams Lake Tribune