Smithers Hosts "Truth and Reconciliation" Community Meeting

Wet'suwet'en elders and the mayor of Smithers were among the speakers at a special community education event in the Smithers Library Saturday, focused on Truth and Reconciliation between First Nations and non-First Nations peoples.

The event was a response to the National Truth and Reconcilliation Commission, which dealt with Canada's notorious Native Residential Schools system.

Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach attended the event to speak about the Shared Histories Project, put together by the Town of Smithers and the Office of the Wet'suwet'en.

"Our library here in Smithers has been playing a real leadership role in moving forward the conversation around reconciliation and so the library staff and volunteers have organized this day to come together in dialogue -- First Nations people and people from the settler community -- and talk about what it means," he explained.

Library director Wendy Wright says it's a good first step toward healing old wounds.

"Really all we can hope to do today is to begin educating people and hopefully that will plant the seeds of that desire to learn more and have people speak and thinking about what they can do to move towards reconciliation for the community on both an individual and a larger group level," she said.

School District 54's Principal for Aboriginal Education -- Birdy Markert -- says it's important for people to hear about the local experiences of aboriginal people in order to move forward as a community.