Increased efforts aimed at reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, led by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 2015 report and BC’s adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (November 2019) are rising to the forefront of our collective conversations and actions.
It’s important that the work being done around reconciliation in this province be recognized, shared and celebrated in a way that inspires others to do the same. The newly established British Columbia Reconciliation Award launched in November 2020, does just this. The BC Reconciliation Award is a partnership between BC Achievement and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of BC.
The Honourable Janet Austin, the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, along with BC Achievement board member, Kekinsuqs Judith Sayers, President of the Nuu chah Nulth Tribal Council together spoke to Stephen Quinn of CBC about the Award program last month. Her Honour shared Her belief that the partnership is a natural place to house the Award program, “It’s a neutral nonpartisan platform that’s above politics. But I also believe that it’s important and appropriate for me as the representative of the Crown to advance reconciliation as a way to honouring the intent and the spirit of the historic relationship between the Crown and Indigenous peoples. It’s also one of three themes that I’ve chosen to champion during my mandate and I think of it as an affirmation of the respect and goodwill that we want to encourage and the desire to advance reconciliation.”
The Award program is open to individuals, groups and organizations who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, integrity, respect and commitment to furthering Truth and Reconciliation in the Province of British Columbia and/or inspired others to do so. There already exists a number of examples of reconciliation in BC, as Kekinusuqs Judith Sayers, can attest. “I think you see any number of initiatives between First Nations and municipalities in building tourism, or business or models of working together. You can see some organizations working with Indigenous peoples to learn about [and] embrace Indigenous peoples to come and talk to them and educate them, and so there’s going to be many varied attempts of on working on reconciliation that we’re going to need to choose from.”
The Award program is a path forward, an opportunity to recognize the truth of the past and create hope for the future:
“I think we need to create a positive atmosphere where we need to showcase those people who are working with Indigenous peoples to bring true reconciliation according to what reconciliation of the Indigenous peoples want…and I think that’s want we want to do here… we want to be innovative and we want to be creative…let’s showcase and show other people it’s possible so that they can do the same thing in their communities.” Kekinusuqs Judith Sayers
You can nominate now for the 2021 British Columbia Reconciliation Award at bcachievement.com. Nominations are online and open until January 15th.