The Witness Reconciliation Program brings together traditional Indigenous Witnesses from both the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations' Councils, and a City Family, comprised of:
- a combination of City Council members
- appointees from the Nations
- both Indigenous and non-Indigenous community appointees
- two City staff members as support for the Program
Currently, the City Family consists of:
- Brianna Bear
- Florence Dick
- René Thomas
- Carey Newman
- Janice Simcoe
- Thomas Soulliere
- Colleen Mycroft
At a future meeting, new City Council representatives will be designated.
The first Witness Ceremony took place on June 16, 2017 at the Royal BC Museum, timed with the start of the Aboriginal Cultural Festival
Role of the City Family
In coming together, the City Family works with an Indigenous Speaker. The Indigenous Speaker recounts the ideas brought forward by the City Family for the consideration of the Witnesses. After each Witness Ceremony, the City Family facilitates the action inline with the ideas endorsed by the Witnesses. Following Witness Ceremonies provide an opportunity to reflect on the actions done, as well as look forward to future actions.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC's) Calls to Action provide a framework for the Witness Reconciliation program. Learn more about the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The Witness Reconciliation Program considers how the City might respond to the five recommendations highlighted by the TRC for municipalities. It will also work in the broadest manner to realize, on a local scale, the TRC's mandate. The TRC’s mandate includes:
- telling Canadians what happened in the Indian Residential Schools
- creating a permanent record of what happened in the Indian Residential Schools
- fostering healing and reconciliation within Canada.