A member of the We Wai Kai Nation based on Quadra Island offshore from Campbell River on the east coast of Vancouver Island, Jody Wilson-Raybould was sworn in as Minister of Justice of Canada on November 4th — the first Indigenous woman to be named to that post. Recently elected as the Liberal MP for the Vancouver-Granville riding, Wilson-Raybould was a provincial Crown prosecutor, a B.C. Treaty Commissioner and a Regional Chief of the B.C.Assembly of First Nations.
“I am really excited about it because it’s really nice to see a First Nations woman in the federal government and taking a seat like that,” said Shuswap chief Barb Cote when asked about Wilson-Raybould’s appointment at the Shuswap Band’s open house, held at the band’s newly renovated headquarters located on Arrow Road (across from the Kicking Horse Café) on Thursday, November 5th. “I think there are a lot of ways she can work for Aboriginal people.”
Cote expressed anticipation at the opportunity of meeting Wilson-Raybould in person in the near future.
“As aboriginal people we’re really proud,” she said.
Pride was a sentiment that reverberated through the halls of the Shuswap Band’s new office area, boardroom and health offices during the open house, as band members and valley residents streamed in to enjoy complementary refreshments and tours of the facility.
“I thought the open house was fantastic,” said Cote. “I really didn’t know what to expect, so I was really happy to see so many people, not just our own community but Invermere residents, coming in to have a look.”
“It’s nice and bright and happy,” she added, about the new space. “And it’s positive.”
Cote also expressed positivity about Canada’s new Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett. “She has worked a lot with First Nations people so I think that (Trudeau)’s team probably looked at who best fit that portfolio and that’s why.”