Reconciliation fuelled by collaboration – Dawn Drummond

Photo: 2021 Awardee, Dawn Drummond

In spring of 2021 Dawn Drummond was awarded the inaugural Reconciliation Award for her exceptional leadership and commitment to furthering reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in BC. As the Regional Manager, Indigenous Relations in the Southern Interior with the Ministry of Transportation (MoTi), Dawn has built trusting relationships with regional Indigenous communities based on two-way dialogue, honesty and mutual respect.  

Her collaborative approach has resulted in more meaningful consultation, mitigation and accommodation outcomes due to a deeper understanding of MoTi project impacts on Indigenous communities.  

As she reflects on her work, Dawn is clear that “Reconciliation is not about words, it’s about action.” Throughout the course of her career, Dawn has come to understand that the actions required for reconciliation can take many forms: the action to complete and honour commitments, to understand the unique history and stories of a community, and to appreciate culture and traditional language. But most important, Dawn stresses, is the action of not giving up. Perseverance goes hand-in-hand with trust and vulnerability on the many steps of the reconciliation journey.  

Dawn’s earliest awareness of the concept of reconciliation and how it might be applied to her work came after the completion of her first fully executed reconciliation highway agreement with an Indigenous community. At the signing ceremony, she was gifted a drum and was asked to learn a Secwepemc song to play at the gathering. Dawn was overcome with emotion at what she and the community had accomplished working together. The experience brought new purpose to her work and spurred her to start down a path dedicated to resolving historical reconciliation agreements, with continued advocacy for change, innovative solutions, and a commitment to keep coming back to a community even when the discussions are challenging.   

It’s Dawn’s hope that evolving mindfulness will shape the future of MoTi and chart a positive path forward inclusive of everyone. “The innovation and creativity that I bring to the table for negotiations is successful,” Dawn says, “because of collaboration with communities. Each community is unique in what they are looking to achieve and what works for one community may not work for another. It’s my job to listen and understand how my work can help resolve immediate issues [but] also contribute to the community as a whole.”

As an example, Dawn and the Williams Lake First Nation collaborated on alternative procurement language for a project that included a minimum value committed for Indigenous economic opportunities. The alternative language was successful and has since that time been used for other projects. “I’m proud that we developed this language,” Dawn says, “and that my colleagues and executive were supportive to try a different approach. This established a path to provide more economic opportunities within highway projects for other First Nation communities.”  

BC Reconciliation Award juror Chief Sophie Pierre was also struck by this element of Dawn’s work: “Dawn is an outstanding example of an individual doing a job exceptionally well. She’s acknowledged by the First Nations she serves and described as someone who gets things done. What a great model she provides for other ministries to follow.”  

“I’m truly humbled to be recognized for my work through this award,” Dawn says. “It’s an honour to work with a community and their leadership. I appreciate their willingness to not only work with me but to get to know each other and share moments in our lives.” Dawn is quick to reiterate that reconciliation is not easy. The work required to understand historical grievances and find a way to collaborate with each community in setting a path forward is immense. But with these collaborations comes the power of meaningful, genuine connection, and wonderful friendships too. “I love travelling to communities,” Dawn says, “sharing a meal, having a laugh, and then getting down to business.” 

Dawn believes in the significance of receiving an award honouring reconciliation work and its champions. “Reconciliation is not easy, and it is a journey of many steps. It requires vulnerability, trust, and perseverance. Being able to celebrate reconciliation achievements around the province and offer examples of the reconciliation journey in progress is the significance of this award.” 

The British Columbia Reconciliation Award is now in its second year, and invites your nominations of individuals, groups and organizations that advance reconciliation in this province. Nominations are open now at until January 15, 2022. #nominatenowbc 

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

Showcasing BC Achievement Awardees – #shoplocalbc

Photo: Janaki Larsen, pink plates tableware

One of the many perks of honouring the province’s innovative businesses and artists, is the opportunity to see the work they create. From the Indigenous Business Award to the Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art + Design to the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art, there are a number of inspiring businesses that leave us wanting more! 

And now is the perfect time of the year to support a local business or artist and surprise a loved one with a gift made with passion and excellence. Check out these gift ideas from 2021 BC Achievement award alumni: 

Carter Wosk Award Applied Art + Design 

Janaki Larsen – creates graceful bowls, plates and vases that reconnect users with the physicality of their world 

Nick Purcell – makes bespoke furniture that focuses on good design for discerning clients 

Elen Danielle – uses old-world techniques and her interpretation of goldwork embroidery to create wearable works of art 

Photo: Dean Hunt, silver H’lulu (Butterfly) & Skull bracelet

Fulmer Award First Nations Art 

Crystal Behn – Dene & Carrier bead artist who uses her art to create accessories and Mukluks

Dean Hunt – a multi-talented Heiltsuk carver, jewellery designer and painter. A storyteller, Dean often depicts narrative scenes on his jewellery
Shawn Karpes – ‘Namgis First Nations carver from Alert Bay who sells limited pieces throughout galleries in BC
Stan Bevan – an established carver of Tahltan-Tlingit and Tsimshian ancestry, Stan’s carvings and woodcut prints are found in major collections and available at select galleries

Photo: Sisters Sage, soap bars

Indigenous Business Award 

Sisters Sage – soaps, bath bombs, salves, and smokeless smudge sprays pay homage to their ancestral teachings and combine traditional with non-traditional scents  

Indigenous Corporate Training – offers training for workplaces to work effectively with Indigenous peoples. 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act is the essential guide to understanding the legal document and its repercussions on generations of Indigenous Peoples, authored by ICT owner Bob Joseph – buy it today and check out the sequel Indigenous Relations: Insights, Tips & Suggestions to Make Reconciliation a Reality 

Thunderbird RV Park & Cottage Resort – book a stay at one of the 95 fully serviced RV sites or the one four cozy cottages and enjoy amazing views  

And there are many more award-winning artists and businesses to check out at

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

Communities where we care for each other

Photo: 2021 Awardee, Jane Jae Kyung Shin

This province is home to incredibly generous people who take the time to be dedicated volunteers, or who lead community programs that serve others, or who step up during times of emergency.

We’ve all seen recent examples of these heroes and helpers during BC’s recent floods and mudslides that trapped people on inaccessible highways or forced them to evacuate entire cities and reserves. The people that stepped in to make meals and hired helicopters to deliver it to the occupants of the trapped cars on the highway showed incredible compassion. There were volunteer pilots who delivered relief supplies to flood-ravaged communities. There were friends, families and strangers who opened up their homes to provide shelter to those escaping the flood. And there were emergency service personnel who went beyond their duties to help people to safety. In such times of need is when we see so many helpers and we are in awe of the mobilization of good will.

Photo: 2021 Awardee, Kal Dosanjh

But it’s also in times of stability that we see the efforts of those outstanding citizens who spend years supporting their local organizations, showing up to volunteer time and again. Who lead fundraising efforts for their local hospital foundation, who tirelessly advocate for the underserved, who dream of and execute social justice campaigns, who lead beach clean-up crews. There are so many everyday heroes who go unrecognized because we get used to them continuously being there and always leading the charge. It’s time to recognize them for their community achievement and inspire the next generation!

If you know someone who makes a positive difference in your community, a person who works to make your community strong, compassionate, and vibrant, nominate them for the 2022 Community Award. Now in its 19th year, BC Achievement’s annual Community Award program celebrates the spirit, dedication and outstanding contributions of British Columbians. Join us in telling the remarkable stories of our great province and its peoples, and inspire others.

Nominations open at December 1 – January 31 #nominatenowbc

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

How IBA entrepreneurs are helping build economic strength & cultural resurgence

The Indigenous Business Award (IBA) program serves as a platform elevating and fostering Indigenous entrepreneurship. The program plays a key role showcasing Indigenous businesses success which helps to empower youth and generate cultural resurgence while building significant socio-economic opportunities across the province.  

“Winning this award highlights the vision and gives an avenue for young people – they can be successful at anything they want to do.  Keep working at it, having the vision and, at the same time, looking after Mother Earth and making it healthier.” Ken Cameron, 2021 Award of Distinction laureate, Indigenous Business Award. 

Since its launch in 2008, the IBA program has honoured and shared the impact of over 200 businesses all part of a strong alumni of mentors and ambassadors throughout the province. The program continues to support and nurture a growing economy of Indigenous entrepreneurs as reflected in the 2021 IBA program recipients. Awardee films can be viewed here to get a sense of the innovation and success of these businesses. 

As IBA Award of Distinction laureate, 2020 Carol Anne Hilton stated: 

“[The IBA] 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.”

The 2021 Indigenous Business Awardees serve as examples of resilience and innovation during a tumultuous year and each entrepreneur delivers a message of hope and optimism for the future. With their tenacity and hard work, Indigenous businesses will continue to be a driving force in British Columbia. Join BC Achievement in sharing these models of success and inspiring change. The awardees are: 

Young Entrepreneur of the Year:  
Elijah Mack-Stirling – Kekuli Cafe Merritt 
Kekuli Cafe Merritt is listed as one of the best places to eat in town, providing a traditional Indigenous ambience while reflecting the owners’ passion for cooking and creating a space where all are welcomed and acknowledged. 

Business of the Year – one-to-two person enterprise:  
Sisters Sage, Vancouver
Sisters Sage is an Indigenous brand that handcrafts wellness and self-care products inspired by the owners’ culture and traditions.  

Business of the Year – three-to-ten person enterprise:  
Indigenous Corporate Training Inc., Port Coquitlam 
Indigenous Corporate Training helps thousands of people and organizations every year build informed, effective, and respectful relationships with Indigenous Peoples and communities. 

Business of the Year – 11+ person enterprise:  
Tsawwassen Shuttles Inc., Tsawwassen 
Tsawwassen Shuttles Inc. first started offering marine services for environmental and fisheries research. The business has since evolved to meet the growing demands of the market providing a wide range of land and marine charters. 

Community-Owned Business of the Year – one entity:  
Thunderbird RV Park & Cottage Resort, Campbell River 
Thunderbird RV Park and Cottage Resort, operated by Wei Wai Kum Nation at for over 40 years, provides year-round accommodations with 95 fully serviced RV sites and four beautifully appointed cottages. 

Community-Owned Business of the Year – two or more entities:
Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Economic Development Corporation, Prince Rupert 
The Gitmaxmak‘ay Nisga’a Economic Development Corporation (GNEDC) is a non-profit organization responsible for delivering language and culture revitalization programs for the approximately 1600 Nisga’a citizens living in Prince Rupert.  

Business Partnership of the Year:  
Salish Seas LP, North Vancouver
Salish Seas LP focuses on the management of commercial fishing licenses and the marketing of high-quality seafood products operating both in and for the three partnering Nations:  the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Tla’amin Nations. 

Award of Distinction for Lifetime Achievement: 
Ken Cameron, Moberly Lake 
Ken Cameron is the former Chief of the Saulteau First Nations.  From the beginning of his entrepreneurial ventures, to his role as Chief, Ken has led important initiatives in business, clean energy, wildlife preservation, government regulatory policies and community health. 

Congratulations to the 2021 Indigenous Business Awardees! Watch their short films at 

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

The Office of the Lieutenant Governor and the BC Achievement Foundation Announce 2022 BC Reconciliation Award Call for Nominations

The Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, in partnership with the BC Achievement Foundation, is pleased to announce the second annual Call for Nominations for the British Columbia Reconciliation Award. This award recognizes individuals, groups and organizations who demonstrate exceptional leadership, integrity, respect and commitment to furthering Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in the province of British Columbia or inspire others to continue Reconciliation efforts.

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

“The incredible quality and number of nominations received for the first BC Reconciliation Award demonstrated how much important work is being done by British Columbians in support of Reconciliation.” said Austin. “As the Crown’s representative, I am deeply honoured for the continued opportunity to recognize these exemplary individuals and organizations, with the hope their work will provide inspiration and guidance to current and future generations on the path 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.

“Reconciliation builds relationships and bridges the gap between two worlds through the efforts of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. By recognizing the truths of past wrongs and showcasing examples of how to make things right, others will be inspired to follow,” said BC Achievement Foundation board member Judith Sayers. “In its second year, the British Columbia Reconciliation Award continues to celebrate innovative and empowering ways to embark on this journey, designed and decided by Indigenous peoples, allowing them to thrive while making the world a better place. We look forward to receiving this year’s nominations and sharing their stories: #nominatenowbc.”

A selection committee for the British Columbia Reconciliation Award will include representation by Indigenous Elders, BC First Nations and Métis leadership and program partners.

Nomination forms are available on the BC Achievement Foundation website, The nomination period will be open until January 15, 2022.

Rachel Rilkoff
Communications and Events Office
Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia

Rup Kang
Communications Director
BC Achievement Foundation