Councillors Marnie Brenner, Ivan Bonnell, and Scott Nelson have been appointed to Williams Lake City Council’s Indigenous Reconciliation and Relations Committee.
The three were chosen at a Special In-Camera Council Meeting on January 18th, and their appointment was announced at tonight’s (Tuesday) meeting.
The resolution In-Camera report also detailed that terms of reference for the committee be developed.
Councillor Jason Ryll added that the appointments don’t exclude the rest of council from making reconciliation efforts on their own.
Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb opened tonight’s meeting by issuing the following statement acknowledging the results of the geophysical testing of the St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School site.
“The City of Williams Lake and Council acknowledge the current findings at the St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School. We are flying the Shuswap flag along with our other flags at half-mast in respect to the findings. As indicated by the discussion today, Chief Willie Sellars says this is just the beginning, and indications are it’s going to be a long process. Our thoughts are with the families and communities affected by the results, and offer any assistance we may provide.”
Other members of Council spoke on today’s findings during Council’s roundtable discussion.
“Collectively tonight, we’re there to support them as friends and neighbours and colleagues and communities. I just want to let them know that we’re thinking of them as friends and neighbours,” said Councillor Scott Nelson.
“I think it’s been a heavy day for all of us here on the Council table, and in the community as well,” said Councillor Ryll.
“Today is certainly a somber day in Canada’s evolving learned history. Somber is too gentle a word, I think we’re all united in grief over the discoveries that the St. Joseph’s Mission property released today by the Williams Lake First Nation. 93 children is an unfathomable number of children to be lost.”
“Our Indigenous for so long have been dismissed and denied the honouring their truth,” said Councillor Marnie Brenner.
“We talk about the power of truth, and we talk about if you live your truth and your lived truth, and this was five nations. Chief Sellars talked about five nations that this school impacted. I think were turning a corner, as much as the survivors, we need to honour them and commend them for being survivors, for telling the story even though they didn’t feel believed, and we didn’t believe them. They were dismissed and minimized, and to add on to Councillor Ryll’s, ‘we see you’, but I think more importantly we believe you.”
In anticipation of the impact today’s conference may have, the Williams Lake First Nation created a booklet of Wellness Supports, which can be accessed by clicking here.