A New Westminster Sikh society held an event with the Tsilhqot'in First Nation in an effort toward reconciliation with the Indigenous community.
It was the second year the Khalsa Diwan Society hosted the Tsilhqot'in First Nation, with 50 members attending the event. The event was started in response to the 2016 Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendation that faith-based organizations engage with Indigenous Peoples in reconciliation efforts.
“This gathering assumes special significance because it was here in New Westminster that Chief Ahan of the Tsilhqot'in First Nation was hung for protecting his people and their land,” said event organizer Satnam Singh Sangra in an email. “As residents of New Westminster, we feel that it is important to reach out to the Tsilhqot'in People and begin a new chapter in our relationship with them.”
Elders of the Tsilhqot'in First Nation were presented with a kirpan, an article of faith similar in appearance to a blade that is carried by some Sikhs at all times, as a symbol of “our shared values of creating a fair, just and equitable society for all,” Sangra said.
The program began with a brief talk on Sikh values and a warrior song sung by Tsilhqot'in elders and youth.
Guests were then served langar, a communal meal, in the society’s community kitchen.