Salmon n’ Bannock – an Indigenous entrepreneurship success story

Photo: Inez Cook, Owner, Salmon n’ Bannock and 2013 Indigenous Business Awardee

Local restaurant, Salmon n’ Bannock Bistro has been a shining light in demonstrating reconciliation in action through the power of food. 

Salmon n’ Bannock Bistro is the only Indigenous owned and operated restaurant in Vancouver and was awarded Outstanding Business Achiever at the Indigenous Business Award Gala in 2013.  

At the Bistro, Inez and her team proudly serve wild local fish, organic and free-range meats, bannock and other culinary delights inspired by a variety of First Nations traditions. Salmon n’ Bannock’s has received top accolades from the food and beverage industry. 

At the time of receiving the business honour, owner and co-founder Inez Cook of the Nuxalk Nation spoke of the restaurant’s early beginnings. Inez and then co-owner Remi Caudron saw an opportunity, prior to the Vancouver Olympics, to open a fully licensed restaurant serving First Nations cuisine. They created a menu based on traditional ingredients prepared to please a modern palate. Not only were they sharing their traditional food with a wider audience, their efforts were also helping share cultural understanding. 

Last month, Salmon n’ Bannock Bistro officially opened their second location at Vancouver International Airport aptly called Salmon n’ Bannock On The Fly. The opening date was significant as it also marked the Bistro’s 13th anniversary of the opening of their first location on Broadway in Vancouver. And it’s the only Indigenous restaurant in an international airport in North America! 

Now that they’ve expanded the business with a restaurant at Vancouver’s International Airport, Salmon n’ Bannock is poised to serve a larger customer base, sharing in Indigenous cultural cuisine. For anyone heading to the airport soon, you can find Salmon n’ Bannock On the Fly just past Security, at International Departures. 

Inez’s hard work and resilience shines through in her entrepreneurship. Her vision to incorporate Indigenous culture and tradition within her business is a game changer in Vancouver’s hospitality industry and serves as a model for others to follow. Congratulations Salmon n’ Bannock! 

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

BC Achievement board member, Aisha Amijee, on embracing equity 

Photo: Aisha Amijee, 2020 Community Award recipient & BC Achievement board member

Aisha Amijee is a proud British Columbian, mother of three, a recipient of the Community Award, a leader and educator. Born and raised in Surrey, BC, she fills her heart up with countless community initiatives in her community of Surrey as well the Muslim, South Asian, Fijian, Arts and Soccer communities she belongs to. She is the founder of a women’s leadership registered charity, Voices of Muslim Women Foundation, and the founder of Freed Education. She teaches Policy Studies and Interdisciplinary Expressive Arts at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Currently, she is working on a podcast and book about leadership. If that’s not keeping busy enough, Aisha has joined BC Achievement as one of our newest board members. 

On the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8, Aisha reflects on what this day means to her in her many roles and through the lens of the IWD 2023 theme #EmbraceEquity.  

What does equity mean to you? 

To me, equity means justice. Too often we think of equality like fractions; when in fact because we are not born into equal life circumstances and privileges; equal parts do not always equal justice. I always tell my three kids, who are different ages and genders that I will always have to parent you each a little differently, but the goal is to be fair and just; which means equity. Just because I treat you or give you different items or amounts, doesn’t mean I’m not fair; I’m doing what I think will give you the most just outcome. In my class, I used to share this cartoon of a taller child and a shorter child, both trying to look over the fence to see a baseball game. The taller child can see over the fence but the younger child can’t. An adult gives the shorter child a box to stand on and then both children are able to see and enjoy the game. That is equity. 

How do you incorporate equity into your work / volunteer / life? 

I spend a lot of my time volunteering and mentoring other women or being mentored myself. There are times where I give more time, money and energy to a project because I know I have more resources or influence in a certain area or at an event; however, there are times where I am offered a discount to attend an event that would otherwise be out of reach for me because of my positionality. On top of founding my non-profit, Voices of Muslim Women, I also donate two modest scholarships now: one in memory of my maternal grandmother and one in memory of my husband’s maternal grandmother. We both have done well for ourselves in terms of education and career success and we believe it’s important to give back. On the other hand, I have been the recipient of the Marie B Scholarship for example. It helped me tremendously to learn how to turn Voices of Muslim Women into a “business” where we had enough profit to operate and create more jobs for girls and women in our community.  

What will you be doing for IWD this year? 

This year, I will be attending the Nisa Homes Tea in Wonderland High Tea; it features an amazing panel of women who are leading the way in British Columbia in the Muslim community. Nisa Homes is a Muslim Women’s Shelter that has been serving women in Vancouver for years now. I will also be tuning into the virtual live event: International Women’s Day Conversation with Sharon White, Julia Gillard and Kelly Beaver hosted by the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership. 

For more on Aisha Amijee, read about her here.  

To see how you can get involved in IWD 2023, check out this resource. #EmbraceEquity 

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

TELUS and BC Achievement: Partners on the reconciliation journey 

Photo: 2022 Indigenous Business Award Gala, TELUS attendees

TELUS is one of BC Achievement’s newest program sponsors and it’s not a stretch to see how values align when it comes to supporting Indigenous success in BC. 

Recently, TELUS published its 2022 Indigenous Reconciliation and Connectivity Report that shares updates on their public Indigenous Reconciliation Action Plan, and  highlights stories of inspiration on how connectivity and modern technology enable transformative outcomes for Indigenous businesses and communities. 

In 2021 TELUS became the first Canadian technology company to publish an Indigenous Reconciliation Action Plan (IRAP), formalizing their team’s commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. “Guided by Indigenous-led frameworks of reconciliation, Indigenous Ways of Knowing and voices – including a new advisory council – the plan is based on four pillars where we believe we can drive meaningful change. By deepening our understanding of the intersections between reconciliation and our business, we are supporting the success of Indigenous Peoples in the ways they want to be supported by TELUS.” TELUS President and CEO Darren Entwistle and Executive Vice President and COO Tony Geheran. 

TELUS’ four guiding pillars drive the organization’s commitment to reconciliation as envisioned through connectivity, enabling social outcomes, cultural responsiveness and economic reconciliation. Helping create stronger, healthier communities for long-term success is a mutual goal that TELUS and BC Achievement share. By identifying exceptional Indigenous practices whether through entrepreneurship, community service or artistic practices, BC Achievement’s programs endeavour to showcase and elevate the best of BC. And in doing so, inspire others to strive for and achieve success in their fields which, in turn, helps build and strengthen communities. 

Thanks to the support of  @TELUS and its Optik TV Indigenous Voices Channel 126, BC Achievement was able to broadcast all three of our 2022 Indigenous program presentation ceremonies, including the First Nations Art Award ceremony, the Indigenous Business Award Gala and the BC Reconciliation Award ceremony to audiences across BC. In addition, through TELUS’ partner  @Vidflex, we were able to live-stream these ceremonies and directly connect with recipients’ families and communities. We are grateful to TELUS for its engagement with the foundation’s Indigenous programming and look forward to a continued relationship aligning our collective values on the reconciliation journey. Thank you for joining with us to elevate excellence, share success and inspire change.

“Bridging the gap between the two worlds through the reconciliation efforts of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples builds the relationships needed for the journey. By recognizing the truths of past wrongs and showcasing examples of how to make things right, others will be inspired to follow.” BC Achievement Foundation board member, Cloy-e-iis, Dr. Judith Sayers 

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

Engagement that elevates excellence, share success and inspires change

Photo: 2022 FNA Award of Distinction, Reg Davidson, Frog Sculpture

BC Achievement’s partners are vital to the sustainability of its programs. The work we are doing now builds the foundation for future artists, community leaders and entrepreneurs and we are grateful for those who support this vibrant community and celebrate the best of our province. It is a straightforward equation – the more British Columbians who engage with BC Achievement programming the more our programs can share the success of their awardees and inspire real change. 

Today – we want to express our sincere thanks to The Fulmer Foundation (TFF) which, through the leadership of BC Achievement alumnus, 2010 Community Award recipient and past board director, Yuri Fulmer, has supported the First Nations Art (FNA) program for the past five years. 

TFF’s multiyear commitment, which has fulfilled its term, allowed the FNA program to thrive and sustain itself before, during and after the immediacy of the pandemic. Now, as BC Achievement plans for the 17th annual offering of the award, the FNA program is well positioned to grow and develop. We are excited to begin this next phase of the First Nations Art award program, expanding its reach and impact. 

BC Achievement is grateful for TFF’s investment in the work we do. It allowed us to lead and deliver the First Nations Art program with the stability, vitality and originality it demands during unprecedented and unusual times. New avenues were pursued and added to the program including BC Achievement’s annual paddle commission with the FNA emerging artist recipient. This commission serves as the recognition piece for the BC Reconciliation Award program and both new commissions are housed in Government House representing the artists’ understanding of the reconciliation journey. 

As an independent, registered not-for-profit, BC Achievement relies upon corporate and philanthropic support for all five of its programs. Every contribution makes a difference, and we invite you to join the movement – #bepartofit and invest in the innovative work of program recipients and, in doing so, inspire achievement.   

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

Honouring an Award of Distinction Recipient, Robert Anderson

Photo: 2022 Applied Art + Design, Award of Distinction, Robert Anderson

In recognition of his extraordinary and sustained accomplishments as a master luthier, Robert Anderson was named the 2022 Award of Distinction recipient for BC Achievement’s Applied Art + Design Award program. Robert Anderson is a Victoria, BC based master luthier committed to hand-building stringed instruments that are objects of beauty and acoustic design. We caught up with him recently to find out what receiving this award has meant to him. 

“It is important to draw attention to the work of craftspeople in applied arts and design by honouring them with these kinds of awards for excellence in their field. It is a public endorsement and reminder of the value of hand crafting which celebrates individual achievement over mass manufacturing which dehumanizes it. I am tremendously honoured to have received the Award of Distinction.” 

With much humility, Applied Art + Design awardees often point to how receiving this award is more than just a recognition of their own skills, experience and the work they are doing in field; it’s about the impact of the recognition on others. Robert follows the traditions of the old masters, using carefully selected and aged woods, hide glue and dovetail neck joints. Over 25 years of instrument making has deepened his understanding of materials, acoustic design and hand-building methods, resulting in subtle, incremental changes which improve tone, volume and ergonomics. 

Photo: 2022 Applied Art + Design, Award of Distinction, Robert Anderson

In an age when cheap, factory-made instruments are overwhelming the market, Robert also instructs and mentors aspiring instrument builders in the tradition of luthiery, keeping alive the spirit of inquiry and skill development fundamental to the craft. “I am inspired daily by the materials and designs I work with and by the unflagging enthusiasm of my students.” 

Robert feels fortunate to work in a field where he can create the tools that enable musicians to fully give expression to their art. “I hope to continue designing and making instruments and passing the knowledge on to my students for a good many years to come.” He is also fortunate to share his talent playing the guitar when he performs with his band, Backyard Boulevard. 

In its 19th year, BC Achievement’s Applied Art + Design award program shines a light on functional art and celebrates the vigour of BC’s creative economy. The awardees of the Applied Art + Design program enhance day-to-day life while enriching our collective experiences. 

To date, over 83 applied artists and designers from across this province have been recognized by the program including 19 receiving the lifetime Award of Distinction honour. You can find a film produced by BC Achievement on Robert Anderson on our YouTube channel. Films on awardees are available as part of an online archive library – please watch and share.  

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

IBA Films: Catalysts for Change and Opportunity – Watch them today! 

Photo: 2022 IBA recipient, Sasuchan Development Corp & IBA alumnus, Nolan McAllister

Beginning its fifteenth annual offering in 2023, the Indigenous Business Award (IBA) program continues its mission to recognize and celebrate excellence in Indigenous business throughout British Columbia. Sharing powerful stories of innovation and persistence – stories which serve to inspire other Indigenous entrepreneurs as they forge their own path to excellence.  

These awardee stories have been captured on film by BC Achievement, to serve as both a tool for the awardees to use to advance their business venture, and to serve as inspiration to others of the commitment and possibilities of Indigenous entrepreneurship. 

In shining a light on BC’s Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses, BC Achievement has illuminated aspects of their work which create economic opportunity, increase Indigenous representation, and foster cultural resurgence in communities across the province.  

Photo: 2022 IBA recipients, Ashley & Dustin Kucher, Dark Arc Welding Inc.

“I represent my ancestors that came before me, walk beside me and will come after me. I am proud to represent the Indigenous population, women in business and the category for Young Entrepreneur of the Year.” Ashley Kucher, Dark Arc Welding Inc. 

In 2022 a total of eight Indigenous businesses, entrepreneurs, partnership entities and community-owned enterprises were recognized from across the province, joining more than 200 distinguished alumni to be honoured since its launch in 2008.  

The short films produced on each awardee since 2014 are part of an online archive library which can be viewed on BC Achievement’s YouTube channel.  

Watch the stories of these Indigenous Business Award alumni who belong to a vibrant community, are bound by purpose, and are working towards a better future.  

Watch the films of the 2022 IBA recipients here, and please share: 

Young Entrepreneur of the Year: 

Dark Arc Welding Inc., Dawson Creek 

Business of the Year – one-to-two person enterprise: 

dk Architecture, North Vancouver 

Business of the Year – three-to-ten person enterprise: 

Culture Shock Life, Alert Bay 

Business of the Year – 11+ person enterprise: 

Warrior Plumbing, North Vancouver 

Community-Owned Business of the Year – one entity: 

M’i nuw’ilum DBA Cheanuh Marina, Sooke 

Community-Owned Business of the Year – two or more entities:  

Sasuchan Development Corporation, Takla Landing 

Business Partnership of the Year:  

Central Chilcotin Rehabilitation Ltd., Williams Lake 

Award of Distinction for Lifetime Achievement:  

Chief David Jimmie, Chilliwack 

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

Watch the films on BC’s First Nations artists  

Photo: 2022 Award Recipient, Latham Mack

BC Achievement’s First Nations Art Award (FNA) program honours BC artists for excellence in traditional and contemporary First Nations Art. Whether that’s carving, painting, beading, or basket weaving, over 16 years of exceptional First Nations artists have been celebrated for their respective practices. And not just those who have years of experience under their ‘carving’ belt, as the Crabtree McLennan designation has been recognizing emerging First Nations artists since 2016. Emerging and established creators have been celebrated for their skills, many of which have been passed down to the artist from aunties, uncles, grannies and granddads, moms, dads and community elders. That’s what makes this award so unique. The skills, the inspiration and the stories expressed by these artists are an evolution from many generations and it’s through today’s artists that we see these traditional art forms thrive. 

Preserving these stories and these artistic techniques is an important practice for all British Columbians as these stories are part of our province’s collective history. The learnings enrich our culture, strengthen the ties between communities, and increase understanding and reconciliation. 

Photo: 2022 Crabtree McLennan Emerging Artist, Jamie Gentry

Collecting these stories of BC’s talented First Nations artists has been BC Achievement’s practice since 2006. For each artist receiving a BC Achievement First Nations Art Award (that’s a total of 95 artists over 16 years!) we have gone to the artist’s home and studio to produce a short film which captures their practice and its influences.  

The film highlights the artist’s inspiration, their style of work, what drives them, their challenges and their successes and their dreams for future generations of artists. No small task to complete in an under-5-minute film! But these stories are worth telling and worth sharing. They serve as a capsule holding immense knowledge, stories and skills of each artist and are valuable not just to preserve history, but as a way to look forward. A way for other artists to look at those who’ve paved the path before them and follow in their footsteps. And these compelling stories inspire young First Nations students to take pride in their traditional artistic practices while teaching non-Indigenous learners a diverse and traditional way of life. 

We have made these films available as part of an online archive library for the public on BC Achievement’s YouTube channel. Please watch and please share.  

Watch the films of the 2022 First Nations Art awardees here: 

Jamie Gentry – Kwakwaka’wakw, Sooke – Crabtree McLennan Emerging Artist  

Latham Mack – Nuxalk, Kamloops 

Qwul’thilum Dylan Thomas – Lyackson First Nation, Victoria 

Reg Davidson – Haida, Masset – Award of Distinction for Lifetime Achievement 

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

Dr. Tracey Thorne: serving the Gabriola Island community with her time, energy and passion

Photo: 2022 Community Award recipient, Dr. Tracey Thorne

Thanks in large part to Dr. Tracey Thorne, Gabriola Island is supported by: 

  • A community-organized Gabriola Health & Wellness Collaborative;
  • A mental health and substance use nurse and a social worker; and 
  • Access to palliative care programs along with counselling programs for new mothers 

Tracey is an advocate for her community’s health and well-being whose medical practice demonstrates excellence in patient care, while identifying critical needs and seeking concrete solutions. Her outstanding contributions to healthcare on Gabriola Island were recognized with a 2022 BC Achievement Community Award. 

Working in a ferry-dependent community and providing healthcare is of utmost importance to Tracey. Faced with a growing number of patients struggling with mental illness, Tracey has been instrumental in creating a position for a specialized nurse and a social worker – both of whom are now embedded in the community. She started a community organization – the Gabriola Health and Wellness Collaborative and created a palliative care program on the island as well.  

A refuge for many during the pandemic, Tracey has been a strident advocate for the most vulnerable. She led the development of a patient-centered model of healthcare on the island where services are exceptionally well integrated. Her work includes the Youth Wellness Clinic and the Adult Mental Health and Substance Use Spread Network in Nanaimo. Tracey was awarded a grant to develop the Mama Mood program, a facilitated counselling and support group for mothers on Gabriola Island.  

In this last year she has continued her involvement with the Rural and Remote Division of Family Practice as the Co-Chair of the Board, and the Regional Physician Lead for Vancouver Island – supporting rural doctors and health care initiatives in communities across BC. She has also become the Co-Chair of the Interdivisional Strategic Council for Vancouver Island, a collaborative initiative between Divisions of Family Practice, Island Health and the First Nations Health Authority. The work of that collective, over this period, has been focused on mental health and cultural safety. Being this busy, Tracey and Gabriola Health & Wellness Collaborative is looking for another community-minded family physician or general practitioner to join their team to serve the residents of Gabriola. 

Tracey believes that being recognized as the recipient of the Community Award has given her the opportunity to reflect.  

“I have realized that making a difference locally, in a way that is tangible for the people in my community and the patients that I serve, is the most rewarding use of my time, energy and passion. As we all roll into this phase of the pandemic, I am now looking at ways to be more community focused again. I enjoy my work on a provincial and regional level but seeing change in my own community really makes me happy.” 

Dr. Tracey Thorne is one of twenty recipients who received the Community Award in 2022 for extraordinary dedication and community service from throughout the province. Nominations are open for the 2023 award program – so 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!  

Nominations are being accepted at until January 31, 2023 for the 20th annual Community Award program. #nominatenowbc 

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

Creating the foundation for reconciliation to thrive – Nominate for a BC Reconciliation Award today! 

Photo: 2021 BC Reconciliation Award Recipient, Kwuntiltunaat Kim Baird
Blog updated: Jan 17, 2023

With two days left to nominate for the 2023 BC Reconciliation Award, it’s valuable to look at program alumni and the groundwork created for others to follow. We challenge you to consider those whose efforts on the journey of reconciliation need to be told and nominate them for the 2023 award program! Alumna Kwuntiltunaat Kim Baird’s life work has provided a foundation that will create the opportunity for the process of reconciliation to thrive.  

In partnership with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, BC Achievement is privileged to honour Kim, share her story, and inspire others to nominate those on the reconciliation journey through the BC Reconciliation Award program. Recognized with her fellow 2021 and 2022 award alumni last week at Government House, Kim, the proud mother of three girls, has been leading her community for close to three decades. At the age of 28, Kim was elected Chief of the Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN). She held this important position for six terms, from 1999-2012. In that role Kim’s early achievements towards reconciliation took place. On behalf of TFN she negotiated BC’s first urban modern treaty, which came into effect on April 3, 2009. The treaty provided unprecedented benefits and opportunities, and her leadership contributed to TFN being one of the most progressive First Nations in Canada. She says, “true reconciliation” means “no longer being tethered to the Indian Act, and gaining access to financial resources and economic opportunities, and to services and programs for TFN members.”   

Kim is a graduate of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, receiving the Distinguished Alumni award in 2012 and currently serves as the University’s Chancellor. Kim graduated in 1992 with an Arts Diploma and she credits her studies at Kwantlen with awakening her political consciousness: ‘I was working on papers on my community of Tsawwassen. I learned about colonization, land claims process and why there are such poor economic conditions for Aboriginal peoples’. She graduated with a determination to improve the lives of her people and started working for her community in 1990. She hopes that her roles as chancellor will contribute to KPU’s evolving role with Indigenous reconciliation in Canada.   

In the spirit of the BC Reconciliation Award, Kim believes that respect must go beyond Aboriginal rights and title. It needs to be reflected in laws, policies and in the operations of government and the courts. To support this ongoing quest, Kim now runs her own consulting firm and continues to share her expertise on many public and private boards, working tirelessly to serve her community in both official and unofficial capacities. She advises First Nations, governments, businesses and other organizations on Indigenous matters and served two terms as a jury member of the BC Achievement Indigenous Business Award program. 

Nominate a deserving individual, group or organization for the 2023 BC Reconciliation Award at TODAY! Nomination forms are online and BC Achievement staff is available to answer your questions. Deadline to nominate is January 20, 2023. Help tell the stories like that of Kim Baird and highlight  those working on the path to reconciliation #nominatenowbc. 

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

The inaugural award ceremony for those leading reconciliation efforts in BC 

Photo: Crystal Behn, 2022 BC Reconciliation Award Paddle

Next week the recipients of the British Columbia Reconciliation Award will gather at Government House in Victoria for a formal award presentation ceremony. The BC Reconciliation Award, one of the first of its kind in Canada, was launched in November 2020 to recognize individuals, groups and organizations who are advancing conversations and action on reconciliation in BC. Over the past two years, the award has attracted province-wide attention with nominations reflecting a range of unique efforts, size, scale and level of impact. 

The awardees from the inaugural offering of the program – the 2021 recipients – as well as the 2022 award recipients were recognized for their accomplishments through a social media campaign upon initial awardee announcements. However, they have not had the chance to meet each other, exchange ideas, share congratulations for their achievements, or be presented their award, until now! 

On January 12, these awardees will be presented with a print of a canoe paddle designed by the Emerging Artist recipient of the First Nations Art Award program. The 2021 paddle was created by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Cole Speck, and the 2022 paddle was created by Dene and Carrier beader Crystal Behn. The ongoing series of BC Reconciliation Award paddles will be displayed in Government House. 

The commitment of these recipients to working toward reconciliation is inspiring and provides hope for stronger relationships and communities. With the mission to elevate excellence, share success and inspire change, BC Achievement, through its continued partnership with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, is honoured to present the third year of the BC Reconciliation Award program. By highlighting those who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, integrity, respect, and commitment to furthering reconciliation or inspired others to continue reconciliation efforts, we will all benefit. 

Nominate a deserving individual, group or organization for the 2023 BC Reconciliation Award at Nomination forms are online and BC Achievement staff are available to answer your questions. Deadline to nominate is January 20, 2023. 

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