Statement from Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation on racist vandalism

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Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, has issued the following statement on the recent defacing of signs in the Kamloops area:

“The Government of British Columbia denounces and condemns in the strongest possible terms the racist vandalism of Secwépemc Nation signs, outside a mushroom picking area near the Lac du Bois Grasslands Protected Area.

“This ignorant, cowardly and reprehensible act is contrary to the values of our government and the people of British Columbia and Canada.

“As part of wildfire recovery efforts following the 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire, government is partnering with the Secwépemc Nation to help protect and restore burnt areas. We support the First Nation’s stewardship role as ancestral caretakers of the land, and the Secwépemc approach to encourage responsible, safe and low-impact mushroom harvesting. Our partnership on Elephant Hill is a demonstration of our commitment to reconciliation, and the success we can achieve by working together.

“Our government is focused on a new relationship with Indigenous peoples — one built on partnership, respect and recognition of rights.

“We are committed to fighting racism and bigotry in all its forms, and upholding the commitments and principles of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“Racism and bigotry will not be tolerated, and is not reflective of who we are. Hatred will only win if we remain silent. We must work together to build a better future for all British Columbians.”