Tŝilhqot’in Nation says it rejects non-apology from Williams Lake Mayor Cobb

THE Tŝilhqot’in Nation said on Wednesday that it is rejecting Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb’s “disgraceful attempt” at an apology in response to a lengthy statement he shared on social media in support of the residential school system that has since been deleted.

The Tŝilhqot’in Nation said it is renewing calls for Cobb to resign as yet another racist statement circulates on social media.

The Tŝilhqot’in Nation initially called for Cobb’s resignation after he shared a lengthy opinion piece on social in defence of residential schools, that included such statements as “[t]he churches do not need to apologize for trying to educate the poor in the only system that would work for nomadic peoples” and “many of the new generations just want to be victims and feel the money would solve their pain”.

On Tuesday evening, at a City Council meeting, Cobb stated he was “sorry” for causing offence, but also criticized the concerns raised by First Nations leadership as a “personal attack” that “does not strengthen any relationship that we have been trying to build”. Council members all denounced the Mayor’s comments but all stopped short of demanding that he resign.

The Tŝilhqot’in Nation said that at the same time, screen captures circulating on social media appear to document another post (since deleted) from Cobb’s personal account, reportedly around the same time period, commenting “My mother in law used to say if it was shitty weather let the Indians have it.”

The Tŝilhqot’in Nation said that it “continues to condemn the racist words and actions of Cobb and calls for his immediate resignation.”

Chief Joe Alphonse of the Tŝilhqot’in National Government said: “It is past the point of apologies and saying sorry to cause offence. This is not an isolated incident. This is a pattern, this is a state of mind, and it is unacceptable in a leader in this day and age. By his words and actions, Walt Cobb has lost all authority to govern and can no longer be Mayor. This City Council will lose all legitimacy if it wrings its hands but does nothing to remove him from leadership. He has made it very clear that he has no care or regard for Indigenous peoples in Williams Lake and the surrounding communities. Is this something the City Council and the people of Williams Lake are prepared to stand behind? Walt Cobb is an embarrassment to Williams Lake, he brings shame to this region, and it is time to turn the page and do better.”