Indigenous Business Award alumni, OneFeather, Launches AI Tool for First Nations’ Elections 

OneFeather, an Indigenous-owned technology company, continues to revolutionize the Indigenous experience through a unique blend of tradition and innovation. With a strong foundation in First Nations values and principles, OneFeather offers a range of digital services aimed at modern nation-building, including election and voting services, data sovereignty, community engagement, and comprehensive banking solutions for individuals. Having already made significant strides in supporting over 190 First Nations and Métis Nations across Canada, serving a community of 230,000 members, OneFeather recently unveiled its latest tool – the Elections Estimator. 

Lawrence Lewis, the Founder of OneFeather and a member of the We Wai Kai Nation, talks about how his business has grown since receiving the Indigenous Business Award in 2020, “It was a real honour to receive the award, and since then we’ve evolved. We released online status card renewal and replacement applications in 2022, and to date, created over 34,000 applications. We’ve increased the nations we serve to more than 289 across Canada (over 30% of the population) and seen digital voting outpace other traditional forms of voting we offer, subsequently increasing voter turnout due to the benefits of convenience, carbon/ land-friendly and money-saving practises – for those on and off-reserve.  We just released the Elections Estimator tool, and we’re also currently working on direct pay solutions for the OneFeather Wallet App, which is due for an approximate summer 2024 release. It’s been busy!” 

OneFeather continues to lead the charge in defining the Indigenous experience in the digital era. Designed to assist First Nations administrators and leaders in managing upcoming elections, the Elections Estimator harnesses the power of smart technology to offer a streamlined approach to elections management, catering to the diverse needs of Indigenous communities while prioritizing sovereignty and tradition.  

Powered by advanced AI, the Elections Estimator analyzes and organizes information to generate customized election timelines and strategies tailored specifically to each First Nation’s requirements. Whether it’s managing voting events, consulting on election code reviews, or providing long-term elections management services, the tool offers invaluable support. 

The launch of the Elections Estimator represents OneFeather‘s ongoing commitment to empowering Indigenous communities and promoting sovereignty in Canada. By providing accessible, barrier-free access to essential services and rights, OneFeather is driving systemic change and paving the way for a future free from the legacies of colonialism and systemic racism. 

Through innovation, tradition, and unwavering dedication, they are planting seeds of sovereignty and reshaping the landscape of Indigenous technology for generations to come. 

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

Unity: International Day for the Elimination of Racism

March 21st marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racism, a global observance aimed at fostering awareness and solidarity against racial discrimination. In a world that needs to unite through its differences, it is crucial to recognize the significance of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in building harmonious societies.  

The International Day for the Elimination of Racism, established by the United Nations, serves as a reminder of the collective responsibility to eradicate racial prejudice and promote a world that values the inherent dignity of every individual. This day is a call to action, urging people worldwide to stand against discrimination and embrace the richness that diversity brings to our communities. 

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are integral components in the fight against racism. Equity ensures fairness and justice, recognizing that individuals may need different resources and support to achieve the same goals. Diversity celebrates the uniqueness of each person, fostering an environment where various perspectives and backgrounds contribute to a richer collective experience. Inclusion goes beyond mere representation, creating spaces where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered. 

Some recent BC Achievement Community Award recipients are committed to the elimination of racism through their extraordinary efforts both at work and in their volunteer lives. 

Photo: Community Awardee, Dr. Faisal Khosa

One such recipient is award-winning radiologist and scholar Dr. Faisal Khosa of Vancouver. His work as a mentor, educator and advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) has created a legacy for his profession and also the larger BC community. Dr. Khosa’s research has catalyzed initiatives to increase the accessibility of higher education and achievement for underrepresented students. He has created actionable guidelines for institutions in BC and Canada for the equitable inclusion of students, educators and physicians. Through his work, Dr Khosa has successfully helped create a more welcoming environment for all. 

Photo: Community Awardee, Suresh Kurl

Another Community Award recipient fighting against racism is Suresh Kurl of Richmond who has spent over forty years connecting with his fellow British Columbians through his articles and essays on culture, equality, justice, and faith. A community builder, Suresh presents in forums where he shares his unique and rich experiences and challenges his audiences to adopt oneness rather than otherness. Until recently he was an active member of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, and he remains a regular contributor to and participant in the annual Raise Your Hands Against Racism event and is an active member of the Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act. Suresh’s energy and drive have contributed to improved understanding and dialogue, in the areas of citizenship, multiculturalism, race relations, and interfaith harmony.   

Photo: Community Awardee, David Lau

Another Community Awardee who is committed to eradicating racism is David Lau who made significant contributions to Greater Victoria and his home community of Saanichton. During his time as Executive Director of the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society (VIRCS) his leadership enhanced the community for immigrants, refugees, and Canadians-in-waiting while enriching connections to existing communities through multiculturalism, anti-racism, business, culture, and the arts. David also established Vancouver Island’s first refugee housing project, a multi-building project with embedded re-settlement services that provide a safe, welcoming community environment for refugees. 

These real-life stories are just a few examples of the impactful work being done to support and lead anti-racism, while supporting inclusivity and diversity in this province.  

Eliminating racism requires a collective effort with a commitment to long-term change. Beyond recognizing the achievements of individuals like the Community Award recipients we just mentioned, it is essential for everyone to take tangible steps towards fostering equity, diversity, and inclusion in their respective spheres. 

The stories of BC Achievement Community Award recipients inspire us to act and become catalysts for positive change in our communities. Be inspired. Be part of it. 

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

Embracing Diversity: BC Achievement Award Programs 

Photo: BC Reconciliation Awardee, Dr. David Suzuki

The BC Achievement award programs cover a broad spectrum of accomplishments, reflecting the exceptional richness of talent within the province – celebrating those who are contributing to building stronger more engaged communities. 

These award programs recognize individuals, groups, and organizations for their outstanding skill, creativity, and contributions to the vibrant and diverse landscape of British Columbia. For a decade and a half, the Indigenous Business Award program has recognized and celebrated the accomplishments of Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses, fostering economic growth and resilience in Indigenous communities. 

The Polygon Award in First Nations Art program and the Sam Carter Award in Applied Art + Design shine a spotlight on the vibrant world of artistry and design. These award programs acknowledge individuals who have demonstrated exceptional skill, creativity, and cultural impact, contributing to the thriving artistic landscape in British Columbia. 

The Community Award is a testament to the strength that lies within the heart of communities. It is a celebration of those individuals who, through their selflessness and dedication, make a tangible and positive impact on the lives of others. This award recognizes the unsung heroes whose contributions range from community development and social welfare to environmental sustainability and cultural preservation. 

By embracing diversity, the Community Award ensures that the collective achievements of communities across British Columbia are celebrated. It is an acknowledgment that our province is woven together by the unique stories and efforts of individuals from all walks of life. 

The BC Reconciliation Award is a beacon of hope and progress, acknowledging those who actively contribute to fostering understanding and unity with Indigenous peoples. It recognizes initiatives and individuals who are dedicated to building bridges, mending historical divides, and creating spaces for dialogue and collaboration. 

Embracing diversity in the context of the Reconciliation Award means acknowledging the many narratives, cultures, and perspectives that make up the landscape of British Columbia. It is a recognition that reconciliation is an ongoing journey that involves contributions from people of all backgrounds and experiences. 

The diversity of BC Achievement’s award programs and their respective recipients, showcase achievements which reflect the rich diversity of the province. Presenting stories of challenges, struggles and successes allows others to see themselves, be inspired and take the lead in creating positive change in their own homes, their communities, and in their own professional realms. 

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

Inclusivity: Celebrating International Women’s Day 

Photo: BC Achievement awardees Louise Perrone, Teara Fraser, Doreen Manuel, Ellen Woodsworth & Roseanne Casimir

International Women’s Day, observed annually on March 8, honours the achievements and contributions of women throughout history. It’s a day to recognize progress, acknowledge challenges, and advocate for gender equality. And it provides a platform to celebrate the accomplishments of women in various fields, from science and technology to arts and politics. As we applaud the achievements, it’s equally crucial to acknowledge the diverse experiences and backgrounds that shape these women’s journeys. 

Inclusivity: Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges 

Inclusivity lies at the core of the International Women’s Day celebration. It involves empowering women of all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, abilities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. By fostering an inclusive environment, we create a space where every woman’s voice is heard, every story is valued, and every contribution is recognized. By embracing diversity, we break down stereotypes and challenge societal norms, paving the way for a more inclusive and accepting future. 

On this International Women’s Day, let’s shine a light on the stories of resilience and triumph of women who have overcome adversity, inspiring others to forge ahead despite obstacles. 

BC Achievement Foundation has honoured numerous outstanding women leaders through its awards, recognizing their significant contributions across various fields. These remarkable BC Achievement awardees exemplify leadership and make substantial impacts on their communities: 

Ellen Woodsworth, BC Community Achievement Awardee: 

Ellen Woodsworth, a dedicated advocate for social justice and gender equality, was honoured with the BC Achievement Community Award in 2019. As a former Vancouver City Councillor, Woodsworth has championed initiatives to address poverty reduction, peace and women’s rights. Her leadership exemplifies the impact of women in public service, driving positive change for the benefit of the community. 

Doreen Manuel, First Nations Art Awardee: 

Doreen Manuel, an accomplished filmmaker, educator, beader, and advocate, was recognized with the First Nations Art Award in 2019. Through her work, Doreen has contributed to the representation of Indigenous stories in the film industry, emphasizing the importance of diverse narratives. As a woman leader, she has paved the way for greater inclusion and representation in the arts, inspiring the next generation of storytellers. 

Roseanne Casimir, BC Reconciliation Awardee: 

Roseanne Casimir, the Chief of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, received the 2022 BC Reconciliation Award in partnership with the City of Kamloops for her unwavering commitment to community service and leadership. Roseanne played a crucial role in bringing global attention to the tragic legacy of residential schools in Canada. Her dedication to truth and reconciliation showcases the impact that women leaders can have in addressing historical injustices and fostering healing within communities. 

Louise Perrone, Applied Art + Design Awardee: 

Louise Perrone, recognized with the 2022 Applied Art + Design Award, has demonstrated exceptional creativity using materials derived from domestic and industrial textile and plastic waste in her textile jewellery. She is passionate about teaching her skills to others and works as an instructor, inspiring students. Louise is also motivated to create opportunities for artists to thrive and has given back to her community serving in leadership positions with various artist and craft organizations. 

Teara Fraser, BC Indigenous Business Awardee: 

Teara Fraser, a trailblazer in the aviation industry, received the 2023 Indigenous Business Award for her outstanding contributions. As the founder and CEO of Iskwew Air, Teara has shattered gender norms in aviation, becoming the first Indigenous woman in Canada to start an airline. Her leadership exemplifies the power of breaking barriers and creating opportunities for women in traditionally male-dominated fields. 

These recent examples of BC Achievement awardees, highlight the diverse and impactful contributions of women leaders in BC. Their achievements across business, art, reconciliation, filmmaking, and advocacy collectively showcase the significant role women play in shaping a more inclusive, equitable, and vibrant society. 

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