The chief of Tk'emlups te Secwepemc wants more than just an apology from the Prime Minister — Rosanne Casimir wants Justin Trudeau to come to Kamloops prepared to discuss funding band projects, including an Indigenous healing centre.
Trudeau said Wednesday that he would visit Kamloops in the coming weeks. He faced heavy criticism after turning down the Tk'emlups band's invites to attend ceremonies on Sept. 30, Canada's first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, opting instead to fly to Tofino for a family vacation.
In a statement Thursday, Tk'emlups te Secwepemc said the lack of a response to two letters was "an added insult," but have chosen a date offered by Trudeau’s office and look forward to welcoming him in the community later this month.
However, the band said it isn’t interested in an apology or a media event to compensate for his lack of participation on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
“We are not interested in apologies that don’t lead to institutional and widespread change,” the band wrote, adding it wants a commitment to funding this and other key projects from the Canadian government.
“We require funding for a Tk'emlúps healing centre to support Survivors and intergenerational Survivors.”
The statement continued, saying Trudeau's presence would have shown the world his personal commitment to "enacting real change and rectifying the historical wrongs" of the residential school system, and to personally support grieving Indian Residential School survivors.
“Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc asks that the Prime Minister come prepared to discuss how the Canadian government can assist us in funding these key projects as a gesture towards meaningful recognition and reconciliation for Indian Residential School Survivors,” the press release said, adding that they will continue to call upon the Prime Minister to to witness and recognize Tk'emlúps collective history and be part of the solution.
In the visit to T’kemlups, the band said Trudeau will meet with survivors and listen to them speak their truths about Indian Residential Schools.