The City of White Rock and Semiahmoo First National are acknowledging their work to forge a strong relationship ahead of National Indigenous Peoples day on June 21.
The city also said it grieves with SFN for the discovery of the remains of 215 children at the Kamloops residential school. City flags have been flown at half-mast since May 31.
“We continue to mourn and struggle to move forward as a people,” SFN Chief Harley Chappell said in a release. “Truth continues to be revealed. We strive for healing for our people and reconciliation with the nation of Canada. Our nation knows and witnesses the work of healing and reconciliation are long processes that require understanding, empathy, education, and perseverance to resolve. Locally, we continue to work with our friends and neighbours in the City of White Rock to see these things come to pass.”
The city is encouraging people to wear orange this Canada Day to grieve along with First Nations people across Canada. The city’s virtual Canada Day event can be found by visiting whiterockcity.ca/canadaday
“Our hearts are broken, and we are angry in White Rock as a result of the injustices carried out on Indigenous peoples, including the Semiahmoo First Nation, through colonization, including at residential schools,” Mayor Darryl Walker said in the release.
“The City of White Rock is committed to continuing to create a strong, trusting relationship with our friends and neighbours, the Semiahmoo First Nation. We know that much work is to be done. The City and its Council are committed to making that happen.”
In a city news release issued Friday, the city said the two governments continue to build trust and noted the progress they made.
“The City and the Nation meet regularly as Councils to discuss matters affecting both governments and items of mutual interest,” the release said. “As part of their ongoing dialogue on a variety of matters, the City and the Nation have steadily moved toward the completion of servicing agreements.”
Earlier this year, both governments signed three utility service agreements, two for water supply and the other for sewer services. The city promised in its 2021-2022 Council Strategic Priorities to continue to nurture its relationship for the benefit of both communities.