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.