The Northern Shuswap Tribal Council isn’t endorsing a Williams Lake mayoral candidate but is leaving the door open should it choose to.
In a press release, the tribal council’s chief Bev Sellars said, “Williams Lake sits in the heart of the Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw territory, so the candidate who recognizes and honours that fact and is willing to work with us in a meaningful way will be the one to gain our support.”
Sellars added that although the council was not supporting a particular candidate at this time, as chief of Soda Creek, she was personally supporting Cook.
“Our community has worked with Kerry (Cook),” she said. “When I was voted in two years ago right away I got an invitation from her to sit down and talk about the issues that affect us all.”
For her part, Cook responded saying that she was encouraged and thankful for Sellars’ support.
“I have enjoyed working together on our youth gang/safety committee and look forward to working with her in the future,” Cook said.
In the release, Sellars added that it is in the City’s best interest to develop strong relations with the owners of the land upon which the municipality sits. She further characterized the relationship with the City as, “We’re good neighbours, but our relationship with the City of Williams Lake could be stronger.”
Sellars says First Nations involvement in local politics is important as it encourages communities to work together especially on divisive issues.
“I think if people start to work with us instead of pointing fingers at us,” she said in a reference to mining activity in the region.
“We are really pushing for responsible mining. Not mining at any cost. We want jobs as well. It’s not that we’re against mining; we want responsible mining.”
The NSTC provides advisory services to four communities — Canim Lake, Soda Creek, Williams Lake Band and St’swecem’c/Zgat’tem First Nations.
Earlier this year the Williams Lake Indian Band announced it was supporting Mayor Cook.