Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki expressed his sympathies to the Williams Lake First Nation this week after the discovery of 93 unmarked graves at St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School. (Western News file photo)

Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki expressed his sympathies to the Williams Lake First Nation this week after the discovery of 93 unmarked graves at St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School. (Western News file photo)

Mayor of Penticton issues statement in support of Williams Lake First Nation

Unmarked remains were found at St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School on Tuesday (Jan. 25)

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.

READ MORE: ‘93 is our number’: Williams Lake First Nation releases findings in residential school probe

READ MORE: RDOS extends condolences to Indigenous neighbours after residential school probe findings


@lgllockhart
logan.lockhart@pentictonwesternnews.com

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