The Tsilqot’in Nation is rejecting Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb’s apology for the social media post he shared on Facebook regarding ‘the other side of residential schools.’
Cobb publicly made the apology at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.
Tsilhqot’in National Government Chief Joe Alphonse said he received the apology late after completing ranching chores.
“I wasn’t able to get home until late, and I got the so-called apology, and that wasn’t very sincere, and I don’t think he meant it,” Alphonse said, “I think he’s just saying and doing what he can and think that’s enough to save his own position, but that’s not acceptable. Apology or not, he should still resign.”
Alphonse also said he was taken aback that City Council did not ask for his resignation, and said them not asking for his resignation in support of Cobb’s post.
“It’s long overdue, this ain’t gonna change,” Alphonse said, “It’s too deep-rooted for him, it’s time to move on from him, and in today’s day and age, we have to be thoughtful and considerate of different races and what they’ve had to go through, and the genocide that we’ve gone through as First Nations people.”
Alphonse says the Tsilqot’in National Government wants to move forward, but there’s no willingness to work with such a mayor.
Council passed three resolutions to work towards reconciliation Tuesday night. Those included recognizing and condemning the devastating effects of residential schools in Canada, Council included the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations as a strategic goal through the Official Community Plan, and that council committed to undertake anti-racism cultural safety training.
“I think those are all good initiatives,” Alphonse said, “but they’re initiatives that are going to waste if they continue to allow Walt Cobb to continue to conduct himself as Mayor of the City of Williams Lake.”
The Tsilqot’in Nation in a release, says screen captures circulating on social media appear to another post from Mayor Cobb’s personal account, which has been deleted, that reads “my mother in law used to say if it was [expletive] weather, let the Indians have it.”
“As we speak there’s even more media circulating regarding Walt Cobb, so it’s not just a one-time, one-off post that he posted,” Alphonse added, “Whether you wrote it or not, you post it on your social media page, and then you’re endorsing that as your position, that’s what he’s done here. To say it’s a personal attack on him, and to point fingers and shed blame the other way, he’s been attacking First Nations peoples people and nations his entire career. If anybody’s been attacking anyone, it’s him, and he’s been held accountable, that’s it.”
The Tsilqot’in Nation says they continue to condemn the racist words and actions of Mayor Cobb, and calls for his immediate resignation.