Nominate Now for the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art and Elevate Excellence, Share Success, Inspire Change

The Fulmer Award celebrates the intersection of art and culture, while honouring First Nations artistic traditions from throughout the province. 

Richard Adkins, Haida Nation, 2018 Fulmer Awardee, shared his thoughts on why honouring First Nations art is so meaningful: 

“I think what’s happening tonight for me and for my family is something that is very important. This would not have happened for me when I was 13 years old – it was a different world. What we did wasn’t appreciated at all. This is positive. What’s happening is very important. My sisters and my mother are down here, along with one of my nieces and all are very proud of me. They are going to go home with this story and they are going to talk about this to my nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews. I never had any children, this story about what their uncle did is going to have a profound effect on these little native children. They are going to think about what I did (although I am not affected by it) but in their little minds they are going to be thinking – this is what is expected of me. This is important. This change is important.” 

The annual program is designed for artists from BC First Nations who have demonstrated a commitment to their art practice, have accumulated a body of work, and who are recognized in their communities as artists. Nominate now and elevate excellence – nominations close on August 2, 2020.

“When we create art it’s every part of our spirit…it’s healing, and it’s teaching me the values that we once carried strong within us, like patience and innovation.” 

Doreen Manuel, 2019 Fulmer Award in First Nations Art Awardee 


Nominate today…and be part of it! 12 reasons to nominate, elevate, share and inspire

The Indigenous Business Award (IBA) program is a platform for connections and change. COVID-19 has shifted the economic landscape and Indigenous businesses throughout the province have demonstrated their respective resilience in remarkable ways.  

Fostering Indigenous entrepreneurship is an important step towards economic independence. Indigenous businesses help generate cultural resurgence and build significant socio-economic opportunities across the province. The IBA program provides a showcase for these successes.  #nominatenowbc

THE IMPACT – IBA 2009-2020 

Over the past 11 years, the IBA program has represented Indigenous communities from throughout the province, honouring and sharing the impact of almost 200 businesses.

Let’s take a look at the 12 Reasons to Nominate Now! 

ONE: 2020 Nene Kraneveldt – 2019 Alumni  

“Now more than ever we need to create space to lift people up and celebrate the cycle breakers and change agents that are creating a path for a better future. As a recipient of an IBA award, I am grateful for the new opportunities, friendships and recognition that have been afforded to me.”

TWO: 2019 Carol Anne Hilton – 2013 Alumni 

“Tonight’s awardees reflect the achievements of Indigenous Business in BC. Their efforts are accelerating the Indigenous economy. In doing so they are improving lives, fueling economic growth, furthering reconciliation, and providing a growing young workforce with opportunity. Success breeds success and recognizing Indigenous organizations builds awareness of Indigenous leadership, models a path for others, and inspires further success. This is Indigenomics in action. This leadership contributes to the possibility that a 100 billion-dollar Indigenous annual economy can happen by 2024.” 

THREE: 2018 Chief Wayne Christian – Community Owned Business of the Year Awardee  

“We walk in two worlds – we have the western science and then our own science, our traditional knowledge. We have to have an understanding of both so that there is a balance all the time. I am proud of our young people. Especially those that have challenged themselves to become business owners. They are trying to create their own wealth. They want to be agents of change and make a difference.” 

FOUR: 2017 Chief Gibby Jacob – Award of Distinction, Individual Achievement 

“These stories of business excellence are the continuation of an agenda set by our ancestors, and our people are starting to take hold of the opportunities.” 

FIVE: 2016 Robert Louie – Award of Distinction, Individual Achievement 

“Everyone must benefit from a business deal – we cannot leave anyone behind …follow three rules: walk a straight line and never deviate or go off the path; keep your ego in your pocket; allow things to flow off yourself like water off a duck’s back.”

SIX: 2015 Erica Ryan Gagne – Alumni retrospective film: Where are they now? 

“Receiving the award gave me a voice that people would listen to…it told people something relevant about me and the importance of overcoming struggles.” 

SEVEN: 2014 Wendy John – Closing Remarks, BC Achievement Board Member 

“To the awardees, thank you for creating opportunities that have legacies for our children, for our grandchildren to follow. And, they will be able to share stories about how you broke through, time and time again, to ensure that we have wealth creations in our communities that are based on our values and our traditions.” 

EIGHT: 2013 Erica Ryan Gagne – Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awardee 

“Do you know where I was three years ago tonight? Right where you are now – watching a young woman, just like myself, receiving the young entrepreneur award…I leaned over and said that’s going to be me before my 30th birthday! The IBA is where I was inspired and for that I am grateful. My wish for you is soak it up, enjoy it, charge your batteries, take it home and rub it on your children, tell your cousins and get inspired.” 

NINE: 2012 Doug White – First Nations Leadership Council Awardee Tribute 

“It is a remarkable acknowledgement of what each of these businesses reflects of Aboriginal values, of hard work and giving back to communities. They matter, they are looking after their communities and their families and they are an integral part of the economic success of this amazing province.” 

TEN: 2011 Chief Clarence Louie – Award of Distinction, Individual Achievement 

“This is a WE award and not a ME award which is for the past, the present and the future of our communities. We have proven that we can retain our culture and still do good business.” 

ELEVEN: 2010 Shawn Atleo – Regional Chief BC AFN, Welcome Remarks 

“We cannot underestimate the important of self-sufficiency – and as Leonard George advises – what we are recognizing this year is ‘just the tip of the iceberg’. Wait until you see what is going to be possible next year. Our ancestors were getting on with business and we are rising up and following in their footsteps.”  

TWELVE: 2009 Jacob Beaton – Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Inaugural Awardee

  “I am here today but out of respect for those who have gone before and those who are yet to come. One misconception that really upsets me is that Aboriginal business is a new thing – it’s not. The spirits of the ancestors who are in this land are strong – they were here, and they were conducting amazing businesses and that continued after contact…it’s my duty to encourage all of the leaders to involve youth in your organizations from top to bottom and help develop the leaders of tomorrow.”  #nominatenowbc

His quest continues. With gratitude to Bill McLennan 1948 – 2020

“Within art, there is no time when traditions stop or start – there has been a gap in the timeframe of rebuilding Northwest Coast art – but now artists are making new and more powerful statements and the vitality of their work is on display here tonight – it has the connection and it has the artist behind it – this is a phenomenal thing”.  Bill McLennan, Fulmer Award Artist Talk, November 2019 

Bill deeply and intimately understood the cultural and historical connection between Northwest Coast Art and First Nations identity. He devoted his career to revealing this connection and its importance. So much so that it became his personal passion and quest to repatriate art pieces back to their respective ancestral homes. At a November 2019 BC Achievement Fulmer Award Artist Talk, Bill shared how it is an obsession for him to track down this missing art from museums and collections all over the world: 

“I am a bit obsessive – in October (2019) I was back in Montreal in meetings with a foundation that supports MOA. On the last day after the meetings, I got up at 5:00am and took the train to Toronto – then the subway to the Royal Ontario Museum. There, I photographed, in infrared, the pieces that I missed 30 years ago. Northwest Coast Art is spread all around the world – so, unfortunately – these pieces are not (yet) making their way back to their home communities. There are more and more cultural centres which can house the art but just tracking these pieces down and finding ways that other artists can find them – it is so important. It is what I think about all the time – where can I find them”? 

Every step of Bill’s career took him further along his quest, beginning with the Image Recovery Project which he started in 1980 at the UBC Museum of Anthropology (MOA). He discovered that taking photographs using infrared film could reveal Northwest Coast paintings that had disappeared under the patina of age. What came out of this research was the book, “The Transforming Image: Painted Arts of Northwest Coast First Nations” by Bill and his MOA colleague Karen Duffek. It became a guide for many Northwest Coast First Nations artists as they discovered their artistic identity. Tsimshian artist Phil Gray (2014 Awardee) labelled the book as a ‘game changer’ for artists as it allowed them to be able to see photographs of their ancestors’ work that revealed a design style that was a disciplined and strict art form. He said, “it was like having a thesaurus with you at all times” and shared its impact on his artistic development:  

“I really studied it – I wanted to be more than just be a Northwest Coast Native Artist – and, I was able to understand my Tsimshian identity. ‘Transforming Images’ gave me pride as I had never seen any representation of Tsimshian art before”. 

Bill’s advocacy for repatriating First Nations Art to its rightful communities permeated his daily world and he framed his quest with stories and narratives which outlined the connections between art and culture: 

“The removal of all these artifacts was the physical removal that connected families to their histories. So, it was much more than just a really nice bowl – it connected to all the families who had ever used it – it had the history built into it in at a potlatch or a feast – it had all this knowledge embedded into it and then it was basically taken away. These pieces left the Northwest Coast and became something else in different communities in Europe – but they are the history of the Northwest Coast. These pieces need to come back because of the knowledge imbedded within them and can be extracted by current day artists – creating sense of identity for them”.

Bill took pride in celebrating First Nation Art in BC while supporting emerging and established artists and he did so with an unrelenting dedication and quiet determination. He seemed able to make time for everyone and injected a warm and quick sense of humour into all his conversations. For over 15 years he was a committed advisor, friend and inspiration to BC Achievement’s First Nations Art program and the foundation is so grateful for his willingness to share his vast knowledge. His sage and passionate voice along with his kind and thoughtful nature will be much missed but his repatriation quest and its legacy will continue. Thank you, Bill. 

In lieu of flowers, Bill’s family has asked for donations to the Downtown Eastside women’s shelter. When Bill retired from MOA, a scholarship was established in his name at the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art, and this is another option for honouring his memory.

Photo (left to right): Brenda Crabtree,  KC Hall (2018 Awardee, Crabtree McLennan Emerging Artist), Bill McLennan

Nominate! Nominate! Nominate!

“It takes an entire village to raise a business to its feet and have it take flight…I honour you and I am proud to stand in circle with you.” 
Teara Fraser, Iskwew Air CEO, 2012 IBA Awardee 

COVID-19 has changed the economic landscape but Indigenous businesses throughout BC are leading in remarkable ways and demonstrating their resilience, tenacity and ability to give back.  

The Indigenous Business Award (IBA) program recognizes these businesses that are generating economic development opportunities, helping to create partnerships with industry, and shaping communities to build a prosperous economic future. Now, more than ever, it’s time to nominate an Indigenous business from your community and share its story of success. Nominate, Nominate, Nominate!

Marking the 10th anniversary of the IBA program, Chief David Jimmie of the Squiala First Nation expressed the importance of nominating Indigenous business and recognizing success because communities are doing good work. Their efforts are leading by example as they are generating revenue and contributing back to the community through education, elderly support and governance. 

Geena Jackson, an active IBA nominator, has shared that she nominates businesses “to raise them up and show them that they can be the leaders and mentors their communities need them to be.” Over the past 11 years, the Indigenous Business Award program has showcased 41 community-owned enterprises; 91 small, medium and large businesses; 24 successful young entrepreneurs and 27 partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses!  

Nominate Now for the 2020 Indigenous Business Award and share these important stories of Indigenous entrepreneurship. Chief Gibby Jacob, 2017 Award of Distinction recipient, believes these business narratives “are the continuation of an agenda set by our ancestors, and our people are starting to take hold of the opportunities”.  

Be part of it and nominate today! Nominations are open online until July 26, 2020.