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Williams Lake mayor criticized for sharing ‘other side of the story’ on residential schools

Williams Lake First Nation requests formal response by Nov. 1
Williams Lake city hall. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake mayor Walt Cobb is being criticized for sharing a post about the ‘other side of residential schools,’ on his personal Facebook page.

The post, which the mayor shared late Friday morning Oct. 27, includes the words, ‘most of the older generation that did suffer are long dead and gone or have forgiven’ and ‘it seems to me that many of the new generations just want to be victims and feel the money would solve their pain.’

Responding to the mayor’s post, Williams Lake First Nation Chief Willie Sellars penned an open letter to Williams Lake city council late Friday asking for a formal response from the city as to its position on Cobb’s social media post by the end of Monday, Nov. 1.

“We can no longer abide the City of Williams Lake, or any of its elected officials, trying to advance a narrative which is a slap in the face to our community, to other First Nations communities, or to the vast majority of Canadians who acknowledge the horror of residential schools and who want to assist with reconciliation,” the letter stated.

Cobb told the Tribune Friday he was forwarded the post by someone else and decided to share it.

“I think we need to look at every side of everything,” he said.

While he had not seen the critical comments on Facebook about his post, Cobb said he would have a look.

In June 2020, Cobb and city council members were criticised for comments about the positive aspects of residential schools during a regular council meeting.

Eventually council attended a sweat hosted in the First Nations community of Esk’etemc in June 2020 upon the invitation of elders who shared their experiences at residential school.

READ MORE: Bridging the gap: Williams Lake leaders engage with First Nations community for better understanding

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Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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