In December 2015, Tumia Knott, president of the Seyem’ Qwantlen Business Group, spoke to Township council about the “truth and reconciliation” initiative. Behind her are Michael Kelly-Gabriel (L) and Kevin Kelly (R).

Acknowledging the past

The legacy of residential schools has a profound impact on
Kwantlen First Nation, said Tumia Knott

Virtually every adult member of the Kwantlen First Nation in Langley Township has a parent or grandparent who was forcibly removed from their families and sent to Lower Mainland residential schools.

“Overwhelmingly, the majority of our Kwantlen elders are survivors of residential schools,” said Tumia Knott, president of the Seyem’ Qwantlen Business Group.

“The legacy of residential schools are profound and affect our community today.”

Knott was interviewed by The Times after she appeared before Township Council with a delegation from the Kwantlen First Nation to express support for a proposed municipal Truth and Reconciliation Task Force.

The idea of a municipal initiative comes after the final report from the federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).

The TRC was created to document and preserve the experiences of school survivors after the federal government negotiated a $2 billion Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement to compensate 80,000 living residential students who suffered “sexual or serious physical abuses, or other abuses that caused serious psychological effects.”

In Langley Township, brothers and sisters were not only removed from their families against their will, but they were separated and sent to different schools.

“One sibling would go to one school, one would go to another,” Knott said.

Township council recently voted on a proposal by councillor Kim Richter to “consider striking a Truth and Reconciliation Task Force to address reconciliation with the First Nations.”

The item was referred to staff to provide council with a draft terms of reference for review.

In Vancouver, the council has announced it will be adopting several of the suggested actions recommended in the final TRC report.

In a statement issued on Jan. 19, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said council approved moving forward on 41 actions that are within its authority.

The actions include funding for two Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Centres; cultural competency training for senior municipal managers and staff and creation of a new Manager of Aboriginal Relations in the City Manager’s Office.

Vancouver council has also committed to integrating a ‘reconciliation’ theme in the planning and development of the Canada 150 celebration.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Massive fire at Port Coquitlam rail yard

Witnesses report hearing a loud bang before a ball of flame shot into the sky

Bird count scheduled for Langley area

Volunteers collect data that is shared with the Metro Vancouver regional authority

B.C. man accused of impersonating an officer eludes capture

Arrest warrant still stands for Bryce Scott Telford

Medal of each colour for Eagles junior girls

Triple overtime loss in championship final of North Delta touranment for Langley’s Mountain Secondary

Gators take top spot at Top-Ten Shootout

Walnut Grove senior girls basketball team is a perfect 23-0 on the season

Mom delivers plastic mats to Langley’s homeless

Jenifer Kosman fashions sleeping mats from plastic grocery bags

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

Movie filmed in Castlegar B.C. opens Friday

Hollow in the Land starring Dianna Agron will be playing in select cinemas.

Protect your home and save: New sensor stops flooding in its tracks

BC-made system offers solution to damaging leaks from water tanks, dishwashers and more

Most Read