Williams Lake city councillor Marnie Brenner, along with members of council and staff, have accepted an invitation from elders at the First Nations community of Esk’et to attend a sweat on July 7, 2020.(Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake city council, staff to attend sweat hosted by Esk’et elders

Coun. Brenner received the invitation from Irene and Freddie Johnson, her adopted family

Williams Lake city council and some staff members will be attending a sweat hosted in the First Nations community of Esk’et (Alkali Lake) on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.

During the regular meeting Tuesday, June 30, Coun. Marnie Brenner said following the June 16 city council meeting where comments were made regarding residential schools she was invited by Irene and Freddie Johnson to partake in a sweat.

“They are part of the family that I was adopted into a few years back and the invitation has now been extended to all of council and staff,” Brenner said of the Johnsons, noting councillors and staff are also welcome to bring their family members.

Read more: Graduates celebrated at Esk’etemc First Nation with outdoor community celebration

She described it as an opportunity for Esk’et elders and community members to share their healing journey as residential school survivors with herself and the others.

There will be education, the sharing of stories and people can try out the sweat, although they will not go through the full experience, she explained.

“It opens up the door for us to engage with other communities,” Brenner said. “My experience and growth as an Indigenous woman is because of my experience at Alkali. I hold that community very dear and welcome this opportunity.”

All members of council voted in favour of attending.

The visit will replace the committee of the whole meeting scheduled for that night.

After the meeting Brenner told the Tribune she believes the experience will be positive.

“Irene and Freddie and the Johnson family have been really supportive and reached out. I’m excited that council is doing this. I don’t know if it’s happened before.”

Read more: Esk’etemc store and café slated for renovations starting mid-May

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