Reconciliation through respectful action: continuing the journey

BC Achievement, in partnership with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, is honoured to recognize the recipients of the inaugural British Columbia Reconciliation Award. The program 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. 

The awardees of the 2021 Reconciliation Award program demonstrate the many approaches to furthering reconciliation through respectful action; they serve as empowering examples of what British Columbians can accomplish together. We salute these champions, congratulate them on their achievements and thank them for leading the way: 

Carrier Sekani Family Services (CSFS) is a shining example of furthering reconciliation through meaningful action. In 2020 CSFS celebrated 30 years of working hard to provide holistic wellness services for their member nations. Their organization was created to reassert First Nations control of justice, health, social and family services. 

Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast (MaPP) is a champion of reconciliation, demonstrating a respectful approach taken between the Province of BC and 17 First Nations in creating a shared plan for much of BC’s coastline. MaPP has created a platform for reconciliation built on commitment to collaborative governance that serves as an example of successful co-management. 

xaȼqanaǂ ʔitkiniǂ (Many Ways of Doing the Same Thing) Research Team has developed a community-driven and culturally informed approach to decolonizing relationships between health systems and Indigenous Nations. It’s founded on the mutual goals of understanding and implementing what reconciliation means and looks like for the Ktunaxa Nation. 

Dawn Drummond is a deserving recipient of the BC Reconciliation Award, having devoted more than a decade to collaboration and consultation on thousands of projects with Indigenous communities in the southern interior region of the Province. As Director for Indigenous Relations for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, she understands that reconciliation is not easy – and her commitment is serving as a model for other ministries to follow. 

Xele’milh-Doris Paul, Squamish Nation Elder, has spearheaded community safety initiatives that deepen Indigenous cultural understanding in meaningful ways. Through her work with the North Vancouver RCMP, the West Vancouver Police, and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Doris has helped bring police and her Nation’s leadership toward reconciliation.  

A playwright, actor, composer and director, Corey Payette’s work celebrates resilience and cultural reclamation. Through his musical production, Children of God, Corey shares stories that shed light on the experiences of Indigenous people. Thanks to Corey’s commitment to his craft, thousands of Canadians understand the truth and enduring impacts of residential schools and intergenerational trauma.  

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip has dedicated his life to defending Aboriginal Title and Rights, achieving reconciliation and self-determination for BC First Nations. He has worked with Indigenous organizations, provincial and federal governments on landmark legislation and policies that work to bridge cultural and ideological divides, paving the way for the passage of the Bill 41 into the Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples Act. 

David Suzuki is a prominent scientist, broadcaster, author and a world-renowned environmentalist whose lifelong efforts to advance reconciliation have been a central aspect to his work. His efforts have helped carve a path for the government-to-government negotiations and relationships that led to the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement.  

Throughout his career as an RCMP officer, Corporal Christopher Vollerhas sought out postings where he could work with Indigenous communities, intent on having a positive impact and keen to rebuild trust. For those just starting a journey of reconciliation, Chris emphasizes the deeply powerful experience of this work: knowledge and perspective of resiliency and history; capability for forgiveness; the strength of a sense of community, and just how large hearts can be. The journey is toward a shared goal of a respectful and safer tomorrow for all, irrespective of whether they be visitors or the original inhabitants within their traditional territories. 

We encourage British Columbians from all communities to reflect on the stories of these remarkable people, learn from their perspectives and be inspired to join the reconciliation journey. 

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

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