After a six-year process, the Yeqox Nilin Justice Society finally got to celebrate the opening of the Williams Lake Indigenous Court today.
It was a virtual soft opening with representatives of local First Nations, Attorney General David Eby, and BC’s Chief Judge Melissa Gillespie all taking part.
Gillespie said “It’s been a long road and that there have been many people involved walking together with one goal to create a better way of doing justice. One that does not just make room for Indigenous peoples, but one that embraces the wisdom of our elders and acknowledges that in this journey of reconciliation together we can promote the importance of healing”.
She gave her gratitude to the Yeqox Nilin Justice Society, the Chiefs of the Nations, BC’s Ministry of Attorney General, to the Justice Services Branch and Community Corrections Branch, Court Services Branch, Prosecution Service, Legal Aid BC, Law Foundation, Native Court workers and Police, saying we have worked together side by side and our path has led us here today.
“To the Provincial Court, the opening of this Indigenous Court represents an important step in reconciliation where we are united in action”. Gillespie said, “We are united in our vision to create a court that will meet the unique needs of the Indigenous peoples in this Territory and the community”.
Attorney General David Eby thanked everyone who was involved in getting this project off the ground and assembling this virtual celebration so we could still gather to appreciate the work that’s been done and the impact this opening of an Indigenous Court in Williams Lake is going to have for the community.
“This is the seventh Indigenous Court that has opened in our Province, there is more to come,” Eby said, “But this will make a big difference for people who use to travel to Prince George or Kamloops to find these kinds of services, to have them in the local Williams Lake community means more people will be able to access them and more people will benefit. This is another step towards reconciliation but our work is far from done, we have so much more work to do and I’m appreciative of these foundational steps in your community because we can build on this and we can do more work going forward together”.
Yeqox Nilin Justice Society Executive Director, Samantha-Jo Dick recognized the elders who will be sitting at the Council table for Indigenous Court in Williams Lake saying “I am so very honored that I’m able to take this step forward with you, and that we have your guidance from this point forward”.