Williams Lake First Nation marks Truth and Reconciliation Day with prayers, drumming

Children helped to form a drum circle in the arbor at WLFN where an event was held to acknowledge Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Children helped to form a drum circle in the arbor at WLFN where an event was held to acknowledge Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake First Nation commemorate Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Williams Lake First Nation commemorate Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
WLFN Chief Willie Sellars took in the day with his children and his community during Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo -Williams Lake Tribune)WLFN Chief Willie Sellars took in the day with his children and his community during Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo -Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake RCMP showed their support as the WLFN commemorated Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Williams Lake RCMP showed their support as the WLFN commemorated Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Children danced and drummed in the arbor at Williams Lake First Nation to help mark Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Children danced and drummed in the arbor at Williams Lake First Nation to help mark Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake First Nation commemorate Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Williams Lake First Nation commemorate Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake First Nation commemorate Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Williams Lake First Nation commemorate Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Drumming and singing was part of the day as Williams Lake First Nation commemorated Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Drumming and singing was part of the day as Williams Lake First Nation commemorated Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake First Nation commemorate Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Williams Lake First Nation commemorate Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
WLFN elder Jean William said an opening prayer in Secwepemc and English as the WLFN marked Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)WLFN elder Jean William said an opening prayer in Secwepemc and English as the WLFN marked Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Children were first and centre as the Williams Lake First Nation marked Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Children were first and centre as the Williams Lake First Nation marked Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake First Nation commemorate Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Williams Lake First Nation commemorate Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake First Nation commemorate Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Williams Lake First Nation commemorate Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson and WLFN Chief Willie Sellars gave speeches at the Williams Lake First Nation arbor as Indigenous and non-Indigenous people of the Cariboo Chilcotin commemorated Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson and WLFN Chief Willie Sellars gave speeches at the Williams Lake First Nation arbor as Indigenous and non-Indigenous people of the Cariboo Chilcotin commemorated Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake First Nation commemorate Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Williams Lake First Nation commemorate Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Organizers had to move the venue from the former St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School to the Williams Lake First Nation arbor due to the sheer number of people wanting to attend. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Organizers had to move the venue from the former St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School to the Williams Lake First Nation arbor due to the sheer number of people wanting to attend. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Jazzmine and Dakota Handley take in Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021 with the Williams Lake First Nation. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Jazzmine and Dakota Handley take in Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30, 2021 with the Williams Lake First Nation. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Thomas, Miranda and Enna Tallio leave the St. Joseph’s Mission site Thursday, Sept. 30 to head to the Williams Lake First Nation arbor to commemorate Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Thomas, Miranda and Enna Tallio leave the St. Joseph’s Mission site Thursday, Sept. 30 to head to the Williams Lake First Nation arbor to commemorate Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Vehicles stretched as far as the eye could see on the gravel road from the former St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School site Thursday, Sept. 30 as those wishing to commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation turned out to mark the occasion.

Overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people, organizers quickly shifted gears and redirected attendees back down the picturesque valley, striking in all the colours of fall, and to the equally stunning powwow arbor site at Williams Lake First Nation.

Thomas Talleo, as he waited with his family for the traffic to move, told the Tribune for him the day is a formal recognition of what happened to Indigenous people in Canada.

“I’d like to think now that we get a chance to be heard. It’s OK if we’re angry, but we’re moving together in a positive way with the awareness and the acknowledge. The healing can start.”

At the arbor, the mood was warm and welcoming.

Those who wanted it, were brushed off with sage by WLFN cultural coordinator David Archie before Chief Willie Sellars took to the stage, telling the crowd he was floored and speechless thinking about the turnout and how everyone came together at the arbor for the first-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

“What a powerful statement to the region to see us all come together and not just Indigenous but non-Indigenous. We have our kids running around here. I read my kids The Orange Shirt Story this morning and it gets really emotional really quick when we start thinking about present day and our kids having to go to residential school. It’s not something I had to live through myself but it was only a generation ago that we did and we could feel the emotion coming and we could feel the hurt and trauma and to see the turnout today fills your heart and it continues to fill your heart the more that we come into nekw7usem and to unity and we stand together side-by-side.”

An opening prayer was given by elder Jean William in both Secwépemc and English before drumming started at precisely 2:15 p.m. to honour the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc who called on people worldwide to drum simultaneously for the missing children of Indian Residential Schools for the first Canadian National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.

Drumming and singing as well as speeches from other Indigenous leaders and Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson continued into the afternoon, as warm fall sun shined down on the crowd.

Sellars said he was proud and grateful of the hard work of Phyllis Webstad on behalf of Indigenous people, while MLA Doerkson also acknowledged the efforts of Sellars.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Truth and Reconciliation