BC Achievement: elevating excellence in reconciliation

Highlighting excellence has always been about more than the individual. BC Achievement elevates the communities that nurture and benefit from the people we recognize. The effects of their work ripple outward, building momentum and enriching countless lives.   

BC Achievement’s mission is to honour excellence and inspire achievement throughout British Columbia. In doing so, we call others to act to build stronger and more engaged communities.   

The British Columbia Reconciliation Award 

The British Columbia Reconciliation Award represents the apex of our mission and values, underscored by a deep and urgent sense of purpose. In launching the British Columbia Reconciliation Award we are privileged to work in partnership with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor under the leadership of the Honourable Janet Austin. 

The Reconciliation Award draws inspiration from the work of the Honourable Steven Point, 28th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and a founder of the Award. His hand-carved red cedar canoe, Shxwtitostel, was created as an enduring symbol of reconciliation, recognizing, in his words that “we are all in the same canoe” and must “paddle together” to move forward. 

Celebrating Awardees 

This week, we shine a light on the inaugural recipients of the British Columbia Reconciliation Award, recognizing individuals and organizations who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, integrity, respect and commitment to furthering reconciliation or inspired others to continue reconciliation efforts. We’re honoured to recognize those, who from a place of deep respect and understanding, work to further reconciliation of Indigenous Peoples. This award celebrates the individuals, groups and organizations who have respectfully furthered reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in British Columbia. They are tenacious leaders and compelling changemakers whose work inspires people across the province. 

At its heart, reconciliation is about strengthening relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, and we recognize that it is an ongoing journey. Recognizing past injustices and healing those wounds will lead us all to a brighter future. 

Lasting and meaningful change will take continued, consistent and committed effort. Recipients of the Reconciliation Award urge us forward. 

We encourage British Columbians from all communities to reflect on the stories of these remarkable people and to learn from their perspectives and to be inspired by their accomplishments.   

It is our honour to ELEVATE their excellence, and SHARE their success so that together, we may INSPIRE change. 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.  

The Office of the Lieutenant Governor and the BC Achievement Foundation Announce Inaugural Reconciliation Award Recipients

The Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, in partnership with the BC Achievement Foundation, is honoured to announce the recipients of the inaugural British Columbia Reconciliation Award. The award recognizes nine extraordinary individuals and organizations who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, integrity, respect, and commitment to furthering Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in the province of British Columbia, or inspired others to continue Reconciliation efforts. 

Individual Recipients: 
Dawn Drummond 
Doris Paul 
Corey Payette 
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip 
Dr. David Suzuki 
Corporal Christopher Voller 

Organization Recipients: 
Carrier Sekani Family Services 
Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast 
xaȼqanaǂ ʔitkiniǂ (Many Ways of Doing the Same Thing) Research Team 

“Being part of establishing the Reconciliation award program and serving on the inaugural selection committee has been heart-warming and empowering.  Reviewing all the nominations has shown me the power of Reconciliation and how it can change people and community’s lives for the better.” said BC Achievement Foundation board member Kekinusuqs, Judith Sayers. “It shows we can live together and achieve great things if there are willing people working towards a vision of Reconciliation.” The BC Achievement Foundation has several established programs honouring excellence and inspiring achievement throughout British Columbia, including the Indigenous Business Award and the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art.  

“The inaugural recipients of this award are shining examples of those in British Columbia who have demonstrated the many approaches to furthering Reconciliation through meaningful action. It is humbling and inspiring to read of their stories, their incredible impacts in their communities, and to learn from their perspectives on Reconciliation. I am deeply honoured to have the opportunity to partner with the BC Achievement Foundation and the selection committee to develop this award and to recognize these exemplary individuals,” says Austin, “Reconciliation must take root in our hearts, within families, between generations, and throughout our communities. I invite all British Columbia to join us in celebrating these champions, to learn from their stories, and to strive to build relationships with each other across cultures.” 

The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, has chosen Reconciliation as one of the key priorities of her mandate. This commitment includes participation in promotion of public awareness of the ongoing journey of Reconciliation. 

The British Columbia Reconciliation Award draws inspiration from the work of the Honourable Steven Point [Xwĕ lī qwĕl tĕl], 28th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and a founder of the Award. His hand-carved red cedar canoe, Shxwtitostel, currently on display at the BC Legislature buildings, was created as a symbol of reconciliation, with the understanding that “we are all in the same canoe” and must “paddle together” to move forward. In honour of this legacy, this year’s recipients will receive a print of a canoe paddle painted to commemorate the award by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Cole Speck.  

The selection committee for the British Columbia Reconciliation Award includes representation by Indigenous Elders and leadership: 

T’esóts’en, Patrick Kelly –  Leq’á:mel First Nation 
Nicole McLaren – Métis Nation 
Chief Sophie Pierre – Ktunaxa Nation 
Kekinusuqs, Dr. Judith Sayers – Hupacasath First Nation 
T,lalisam, Dr. Kim van der Woerd – ’Namgis First Nation 

For background and information about the Award Recipients: https://ltgov.bc.ca/priority-programs/the-bc-reconciliation-award/  
The BC Achievement Foundation: https://www.bcachievement.com/award/british-columbia-reconciliation-award-2021/  

Amanda Campbell 
Director of Communications, Programs and Outreach 
Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia 

Rup Kang 
Program and Communications Director 
BC Achievement Foundation 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.

BC Achievement alumni: leadership in action

Looking for a mentor, an ambassador or a successful business model? Tap into BC Achievement’s archive and explore the leadership resource this province has to offer.  

Program alumni are a talented, motivated and inspiring group of individuals and businesses who do amazing things to make their communities better.  

For 18 years, BC Achievement has been celebrating the accomplishments of the province’s most inspiring entrepreneurs, innovators, artists, leaders, visionaries and volunteers. Through each of its programs: Indigenous Business, First Nations Art, Applied Art + Design, Community and the inaugural BC Reconciliation Award, recognition is used as a tool to showcase excellence and inspire change. Each awardee’s journey begins with their selection as a leader in their field by an independent jury. And that is just the beginning. 

Along the way, awardees become alumni who continue to lead, create and build; often becoming mentors in their field, connecting with fellow alumni and sharing ideas. Some find that receiving recognition in their field strengthens their self-confidence and sets them on the path to take the next step and grow further. 

Take for example, Paul Natrall, owner and operator of Mr Bannock Indigenous Cuisine and recipient of the 2019 Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Indigenous Business Award. Since receiving the Award, Paul has expanded his business and added partnerships with other Indigenous businesses.  

Arc’teryx (2015) and Mustang Survival (2016) joined forces to create protective gowns for frontline healthcare workers early in the pandemic. These two companies, Carter Wosk Award of Distinction recipients in Applied Art + Design, came together to find an innovative solution using each of their skill sets, experience and passion to serve their communities. 

Sukhmeet Sachal, 2019 Community Awardee has expanded his volunteerism from his work as an advocate for inclusiveness, gender equality, mental health and survivors of domestic violence, to helping lead volunteers in creating and disseminating culture-specific communications on COVID safety. 

Fulmer Award in First Nations Art recipient Sonny Assu (2011) was recently selected as one of five artists to receive the prestigious 2021 Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship. 

BC Achievement shines a light on the incredible accomplishments of its awardees, creating a platform for their story to be celebrated to inspire others. British Columbians can see themselves in these remarkable examples and then take the first step to create stronger, more engaged communities throughout the province. 

We encourage British Columbians from all parts of this great province to reflect on the stories of these individuals and learn from their perspectives and follow in the path they have carved forward. 

Want to know more about these inspiring folks? Check out the Awardee page on our website or view the short Awardee recognition films on our YouTube channel. And contact info@bcachievement.com for more information. Be part of it! 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.  

Photo Credit: Brad Kasselman

Indigenous Business alumni leading the way:
How Tea Creek Farm is driving innovative change

Now more than ever, it’s valuable to find stories of people doing inspiring things to build up their communities. Look no further than Tsimshian entrepreneur, Jacob Beaton. Jacob is a 2009 Indigenous Business Award (Young Entrepreneur of the Year) recipient, recognized for his innovative full-service Indigenous communications company.  

These days he’s pivoted to a new career, and ever the entrepreneur, he’s bringing innovation to this new role as well. Jacob and his wife Jessica, run Tea Creek Farm on a small farm near Kitwanga, between Smithers and Terrace. During COVID their region was particularly hard hit by food insecurity.  

Jacob and Jessica knew they had to help increase local agricultural production. They set on a mission to make produce more accessible and more affordable to their local community partly by helping train others to use agro-ecological techniques to increase food production. 

To take it a step further, Jacob began collaborating with local First Nations to offer them agricultural training. However, there was a shortage of skilled workers to farm the land so the Beatons started a pilot project, called Indigenous Youth Works. 

On Tea Creek farm, 46 Indigenous youth have recently completed a two-month skills training program through Indigenous Youth Works. Teaching agro-ecological techniques, training northern First Nations communities, and increasing production and self-reliance is all part of the plan. “In order to have a resilient economy we need a diverse and well-trained workforce.” says Jacob. 

The benefits have been many so far, providing a culturally relevant experience, teaching skills to youth — many who come from low-income families, and bringing in partnerships for financial support. Along with training and mentorship, the youth also received an employment wage. “Through our food sovereignty program, we focus on a wide range of skills training and experience in a culturally safe environment that also produces a lot of food!” 

It’s a win-win for northern communities and another example of Indigenous businesses strengthening the BC economy.  

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.  

It’s this tenacity and willingness to work hard for the better good that’s strengthening our communities and our province: elevate excellence, share success and inspire change

As we sit here today, just over a year into the pandemic, we consider the evolving COVID-19 global situation and how it continues to impact our communities.

Many have suffered great loss, many have been ill, and some have found a way to push forward into new opportunities. But the forced change and the lack of physical contact leaves all of us feeling a desire to connect with each other in meaningful ways. 

During this past year our program alumni continue to run their businesses, create their art, and pour themselves into supporting communities they care about. It’s this tenacity and willingness to work hard for the better good that’s strengthening our communities and our province. And it is why BC Achievement continues to recognize stand-out individuals for their contributions. We will continue to do so, despite not being able to gather in one physical shared space and celebrate.  

To that end, BC Achievement will be honouring program awardees through a digital Shine the Light campaign. We look forward to announcing the 2021 BC Achievement Community Awardees and the 2021 British Columbia Reconciliation Awardees in the weeks ahead. 

The next suite of 2021 programs: Indigenous Business, Fulmer Award in First Nations Art and Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art + Design are currently being developed along with their respective calls for nominations. We look forward to engaging with our stakeholders and anticipate online nominations for these programs opening on June 1, 2021.  

BC Achievement’s goal to nurture and elevate excellence within BC’s communities is more important now than ever. On our social media channels, we will continue to share your stories of success and highlight opportunities to inspire achievement and support communities.  

Together, we will continue to hold each other up and celebrate those who lead the way while carving a path forward for others to follow. 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.