Penticton mayor John Vassilaki issued a statement of support this week for Williams Lake First Nation after the discovery of 93 unmarked graves on Tuesday (Jan. 25).
The city’s mayor expressed his sympathies to the Williams Lake First Nation and surrounding communities, as well as the Penticton Indian Band.
“Before reconciliation, we must have the truth,” the mayor wrote in the statement. “We must seek to understand the atrocities endured and understand how they have impacted whole families, communities and Nations.”
Unmarked remains within a 14-hectare parcel of land were discovered this week after a nine-month investigation at St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School near Williams Lake.
The residential school was operational from 1891 to 1981.
“First Nations communities across Canada have long spoken about the existence of such graves and again, yesterday, these voices have been validated,” Penticton’s mayor added.
The mayor’s statement was written on behalf of city council and Penticton residents.