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Councillor faces backlash over comments about Tla’amin language

The Tla’amin nation is not pleased with a Powell River councillor’s comments of their language.

According to the Tla’amin nation, councillor Jim Palm used the word Wakawana while talking to mayor and council about changing the city’s name at last week’s committee of the whole meeting.

Hegus John Hackett says that they can’t let this racist slur stand.

“This comment is wholly inappropriate coming from an elected official and contributes to the normalization of racist remarks that make reconciliation harder than it has to be,” said Hackett.

The nation says that Powell River is named after Israel Wood Powell, not only the first BC superintendent of Indian affairs but also one of the architects behind the increase in residential schools.

They are hopeful that both the nation and the city can move forward from this incident in a way that heals their relationship.

The comment was met with criticism from many in the community, including the qathet school district, who said on social media that they were disappointed with Palm’s comments.

In a statement released today, the city apologizes to both the nation and the community for the comments, adding that they are committed to addressing the impacts of colonialism and the importance of appropriate language.

They have announced a public workshop for Thursday to work on better conduct.

We had reached out to councillor Palm for comment.

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