When I first heard we were commemorating 200 years of aboriginal / non aboriginal relations in our valley, I was honestly a bit taken aback. The first European settlers marked an end to the autonomy of aboriginal people and the beginning of colonialism in Kamloops and the surrounding areas.
It seems, however, that we have been very fortunate. Although there have been awfully sad, dark times, the relationship between Kamloops and Tk'emlups has also been very positive. We have been blessed, through these many years, with many incredibly strong and generous leaders. Leaders who stood strong and still kept us working together in a good way.
As a Kamloops city council member, I especially want to pay tribute to current and past Chiefs and Councils of the T'Kemlups Indian Band - who, I would think, had many reasons to give up or turn totally against those across the river, and never did. Huge respect and thanks.
Today we celebrated together on the river, at the Tk'emlups heritage park, and at Riverside park. Thousands of people participated, further solidifying our collective desire to work together. I felt incredibly lucky to have witness this amazing event.