David Eby, Attorney General, has issued the following statement on the opening of the new Indigenous Court in Williams Lake:
“The opening of the Williams Lake Indigenous Court is another step towards reconciliation, as we work alongside Indigenous communities and the BC First Nations Justice Council to build a justice system that better respects and addresses the needs of Indigenous peoples.
“I would like to thank representatives of the local First Nations and Métis communities that have contributed to this project, as well as Chief Judge Melissa Gillespie and the Provincial Court, who have played a key role in making this opening a reality.
“Our government is committed to addressing the over-representation of Indigenous peoples in the criminal justice system, which has its roots in long-standing systemic discrimination and the impacts of intergenerational trauma from residential schools.
“Indigenous courts offer more culturally appropriate sentencing processes by recognizing the unique circumstances of Indigenous offenders, honouring Indigenous ways of justice and adding cultural components, such as having Elders participate in the proceedings.
“The opening of B.C.’s seventh Indigenous court in Williams Lake shows what we can achieve when we work in partnership with Indigenous communities towards a common goal. Through dedication and the hard work of many, we have improved access to justice for Indigenous communities in and around Williams Lake.”