The City of Williams Lake is expected to respond tomorrow (Tuesday) night to an open letter criticizing Mayor Walt Cobb for a social media post he shared on residential schools.
Williams Lake First Nation Chief Willie Sellars sent an open letter to the City about a post titled “Residential Schools-the other side of the story.”
Sellars noted that the essence of the post was that residential schools weren’t so bad and that there were a lot of good things about them.
Sellars has asked the City to clarify its position on residential schools and the impact that they had on First Nations people.
That formal response will come at tomorrow night’s Council meeting.
Gary Muraca, Chief Administrative Officer, says “The City of Williams Lake takes this matter seriously, and continues to work toward meaningful reconciliation.”
He says Williams Lake remains committed to reconciliation efforts in collaboration with our First Nations neighbours moving forward.
The Tsilqoti’n National Government is calling for Cobb to resign for the post he shared. In a release from the TNG, Chief Joe Alphonse says:
“Anywhere else in Canada at any level of government, endorsing these types of comments abouth residential schools would automatically disqualify you from public office. Why is it still acceptable in Williams Lake? Other regions of British Columbia and Canada are finally acknowledging the trauma of the residential schools and the ongoing impacts for our communities – but not Mayor Cobb. This type of mentality has to end. It is an embarrassment to the City and the region. Mayor Cobb should finally make a positive contribution to reconciliation and resign as Mayor, immediately, and make room for the real leadership this region urgently needs. If Mayor Cobb does not resign, then Williams Lake Council should hold him accountable and fire him.”
CW: Residential Schools
Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) Chief Willie Sellars has penned an open letter in response to a Facebook post Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb shared involving residential schools.
In the letter, Sellars writes:
“Without getting into exhaustive detail, the pith and substance is that this post is something shared by a non-indigenous individual which refers to a letter allegedly written by a First Nations individual that says (and I’m admittedly paraphrasing) that ‘residential schools weren’t so bad, and that there were a lot of good things about them.”
Sellars also recalled a Williams Lake City Council meeting in June of 2020, in which Sellars says Mayor Cobb and Councillor Marnie Brenner made comments to the effect of “there are always two sides of the story”. Brenner apologized for the comments she had made two days later.
Sellars says the “WLFN Council is asking for a formal response from the City of Williams Lake as to their position on Mayor Cobb’s social media post. Further, we would like the City Council to formally clarify their position in relation to residential schools and the impact of those schools on First Nations people.”
Sellars says he is requesting the response by the end of day on November 1st.
Chief Sellars’ full letter and the post Mayor Cobb shared has been posted on the Williams Lake First Nation’s website.