The City of Williams Lake was noticeably absent during the Prime Minister’s visit to the Williams Lake First Nation on Wednesday. (March 30)
We spoke with City Councillor Marnie Brenner, also the Chair of the Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Committee, and asked her why the city wasn’t invited.
“Ultimately, it’s not about the City, it’s actually about the community. We at the city really want to support our communities that surround us. And as you know we have so many different communities from three different nations that do surround Williams Lake. So the committee, the Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Committee, we’re trying to set a foundation of reaching out and building relationships with our surrounding communities.”
Brenner says the City is now looking forward.
“I personally cannot live in the past, and I cannot live in other people’s decisions. So I feel the decision was made and I can’t question that. I feel going forward if there is opportunity for us to meet in a good way and with really good intent, and to move ahead as far as building truth among our communities, absolutely as the Committee Chair, that is absolutely what I want.”
We also asked Brenner if she felt there was work to do between the city of Williams Lake and First Nations.
“As an Indigenous person again, I feel that there is always room to build better relationships, and not just with Williams Lake First Nations, but with all our communities. I feel that we can always be doing better. One of the reasons I ran for Council this last term is because I could see opportunities to bring an indigenous perspective to this table.”
On the Prime Minister’s visit, Brenner says she thinks it is fantastic that Justin Trudeau took the time to come and visit.
“I think it was so great that he was able to come and sit and listen to elders that were there, and listen to their stories. I am just pleased about that, and I am pleased that he was able to provide funding towards more investigation at the school.”
If you are a former residential school student in distress, or have been affected by the residential school system and need help, you can contact the 24-hour Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419, or the Indian Residential School Survivors Society toll free at 1-800-721-0066.