Nominate now for the 4th annual BC Reconciliation Award  

Now in its fourth year, the BC Reconciliation Award recognizes excellence in the area of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in the province of BC. It aims to showcase leadership in reconciliation so others will follow on the journey forward.  

The BC Reconciliation Award is a partnership program between the BC Achievement Foundation and The Office of the Lieutenant Governor. It draws inspiration form the work of the Honourable Steven Point [Xwĕ lī qwĕl tĕl], 28th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and a founder of the Award. His hand-carved red cedar canoe, Shxwtitostel, currently on display at the BC Legislature buildings, was created as a symbol of reconciliation, with the understanding that “we are all in the same canoe” and must “paddle together” to move forward. 

“Reconciliation serves as the foundation for forging meaningful connections and closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. Through acknowledging historical injustices and highlighting transformative initiatives, we inspire others to follow a similar path,” said Cloy-e-iis, Judith Sayers, board member of the BC Achievement Foundation. “As we step into the fourth year of the BC Reconciliation Award, we call for submission of nominations for the award program to help share the efforts of individuals and communities.” 

In honour of this legacy, each years’ recipients receive a print of a canoe paddle designed by  the Polygon Award in First Nations Art Emerging Artist. The following artists have been commissioned by BC Achievement to design the paddle and share their understanding of the reconciliation journey: 

Kwakwaka’wakw artist Cole Speck (2021); 

Dene and Carrier beader Crystal Behn (2022); and,  

Kwakwaka’wakw moccasin maker Jamie Gentry (2023)  

The ongoing series of BC Reconciliation Award paddles will be displayed in Government House. 

Six extraordinary individuals and organizations were recognized in 2022 as recipients of this award. Their exceptional leadership, integrity, respect and commitment to furthering reconciliation, was honoured along with the 2021 recipients at an inaugural ceremony at Government House in Victoria. 

“Nominating individuals and organizations for the BC Reconciliation Award is a powerful testament to collective pledges to healing, unity, and understanding. My hope is that this recognition continues to inspire positive change and strengthens the bonds of reconciliation in our province.  As a juror and past recipient of the BC Reconciliation Award, I am humbled and honoured to witness and be a part of the transformative power of reconciliation efforts in British Columbia and encourage you to nominate those who are making a difference, change is transformative and we all must to our part,” said Chief/Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir, former recipient and 2023 Selection Committee member. 

Nominations open November 15, 2023 – January 31, 2024 

Nominations for the BC Reconciliation Award are now open and can be submitted online at bcachievement.com until January 31, 2024. An independent jury panel of Indigenous Elders and leadership, which includes program alumni, adjudicate the submissions.  

Be part of it #nominatenowbc. Share the news! 

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

Call for Nominations announced for 2024 British Columbia Reconciliation Award

Vancouver, B.C. – The Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, in partnership with the BC Achievement Foundation, is pleased to announce the 2024 Call for Nominations for the BC 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.

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.

“Every year we launch nominations the BC Reconciliation Award. I grow more and more grateful for the opportunity to witness the exceptional ways in which individuals and organizations in British Columbia advance reconciliation,” Austin said. “It takes creativity, intelligence, but most importantly it takes courage—courage to acknowledge the injustices of the past and present and courage to mend those wounds. I look forward to seeing this courage reflected in the 2024 nominations.”

The BC Achievement Foundation has several established programs honouring excellence and inspiring achievement throughout British Columbia, including the Indigenous Business Award and the First Nations Art Award.

“Reconciliation serves as the foundation for forging meaningful connections and closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. Through acknowledging historical injustices and highlighting transformative initiatives, we inspire others to follow a similar path,” said Cloy-e-iis, Judith Sayers, board member of the BC Achievement Foundation. “As we step into the fourth year of the BC Reconciliation Award, we call for submission of nominations for the award program to help share the efforts of individuals and communities.”

The BC Reconciliation Award draws inspiration from the work of the Honourable Steven Point [Xwĕ lī qwĕl tĕl], 28th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and a founder of the Award. His hand-carved red cedar canoe, Shxwtitostel, currently on display at the BC Legislature buildings, was created as a symbol of reconciliation, with the understanding that “we are all in the same canoe” and must “paddle together” to move forward.

In honour of this legacy, each years’ recipients receive a print of a canoe paddle designed by the Emerging Artist recipient of the Polygon Award in First Nations Art. The 2021 paddle was created by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Cole Speck, the 2022 paddle was created by Dene and Carrier beader Crystal Behn and the 2023 paddle was designed by Kwakwaka’wakw artist and moccasin maker Jamie Gentry. The ongoing series of BC Reconciliation Award paddles will be displayed in Government House.

The selection committee for the BC Reconciliation Award includes representation from Indigenous Elders and leadership. A ceremony recognizing the 2023 recipients will take place at Government House in Victoria in the new year.

“Nominating individuals and organizations for the BC Reconciliation Award is a powerful testament to collective pledges to healing, unity, and understanding. My hope is that this recognition continues to inspire positive change and strengthens the bonds of reconciliation in our province. As a juror and past recipient of the BC Reconciliation Award, I am humbled and honoured to witness and be a part of the transformative power of reconciliation efforts in British Columbia and encourage you to nominate those who are making a difference, change is transformative and we all must to our part,” said Chief/Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir, former recipient and 2023 selection committee member.

The nomination period for the BC Reconciliation Award will be open from November 15, 2023, until January 31, 2024. Online nominations are open on the BC Achievement Foundation website at www.bcachievement.com.

###

Media Contacts

Gemma Bishop, Gather PR
Co-Founder & Managing Director
Gather Public Relations (on behalf of the BC Achievement Foundation)
T: 604-375-6953
E: gemma@gatherpublicrelations.com
W: www.gatherpublicrelations.com

Amanda Campbell
Director of Communications and Deputy
Private Secretary
Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
T: 250-480-8948
E: amanda.campbell@gov.bc.ca
W: www.ltgov.bc.ca

Open for Nominations: BC Reconciliation Award program November 15

Nominate now for the annual BC Reconciliation Award program! 

Now in its fourth year, the BC Reconciliation Award recognizes excellence in reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in the province of BC. The Award honours 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. 

With every story shared, there is the potential for inspiration to spark elsewhere. It’s this potential and these small sparks that allow hope to rise-up within our province. And it is in honouring excellence that BC Achievement hopes to inspire achievement. 

Photo: Sophie Pierre OC, OBC, Patrick Kelly, and David Suzuki, 2021 BC Reconciliation Award recipient

BC Achievement is grateful to work in partnership with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia to deliver the program which draws inspiration from the work of the Honourable Steven Point [Xwĕ lī qwĕl tĕl], 28th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and a founder of the award. His hand-carved red cedar canoe, Shxwtitostel, currently on display at the B.C. legislature buildings, was created as a symbol of reconciliation, with the understanding that “we are all in the same canoe” and must “paddle together” to move forward. 

It is time to start considering who is doing this work and tell the stories of reconciliation in action throughout the province and #nominatenowbc! Submissions will be accepted starting November 15, 2023, until January 31, 2024.  

Nominate online at bcachievement.com. All submissions are reviewed by an independent selection committee comprised of representation from Indigenous Elders and leadership. 

Submit your nominations for the BC Reconciliation Award starting November 15, 2023 until January 31, 2024! #nominatenowbc 

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

The Office of the Lieutenant Governor and the BC Achievement Foundation announce 2023 Reconciliation Award Recipients

Vancouver, B.C. – The Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, in partnership with BC Achievement Foundation, is honoured to announce the recipients of the third British Columbia Reconciliation Award. The award recognizes four extraordinary individuals and two 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. 

Individual Recipients: 

Dr. Danièle Behn Smith (Victoria) 
Chief Willie Sellars (Williams Lake) 
Klith-waa-taa, Dr. Barney Williams (Campbell River) 
Dr. Eldon Yellowhorn (Burnaby) 

Organization Recipients:

Last Post Fund – BC Branch (Burnaby) 
The Exploration Place & Lheidli T’enneh First Nation (Prince George) 

“Reconciliation acts as the cornerstone for fostering meaningful connections and bridging the divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. By acknowledging the historical injustices and illuminating transformative actions, we inspire others to tread the same path,” said Cloy-e-iis, Judith Sayers, a member of the board of BC Achievement. “As we enter the third year of the British Columbia Reconciliation Award, we continue to shine a light on empowering approaches that allow Indigenous peoples to flourish while positively impacting all communities. On behalf of BC Achievement, we take great pride in announcing and commending the accomplished recipients of the 2023 award. Congratulations to the awardees, and heartfelt gratitude for your unwavering commitment to our shared journey of reconciliation.” 

BC Achievement Foundation has several established programs honouring excellence and inspiring achievement throughout British Columbia, including the Indigenous Business Award and the First Nations Art Award.  

“For the third year of the BC Reconciliation Award, I continue to be inspired by the impact and meaning of the achievements of the 2023 recipients, and across all nominations,” said the Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. “The recipients demonstrate commitment to community, education, and recognizing the challenges of the past while honouring those who came before us. They are an inspiration to me, and to all British Columbians, in their call to do the hard work of reconciliation and support its transformative power to create real change. As always, I am incredibly honoured to be a champion of this award, and to celebrate the accomplishments of the 2023 recipients with British Columbians.”  

The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, has chosen Reconciliation as one of the key priorities of her mandate. This commitment includes participation in promotion of public awareness of the ongoing journey of reconciliation and developing a legacy through the creation of this award. 

The British Columbia Reconciliation Award draws inspiration from the work of the Honourable Steven Point [Xwĕ lī qwĕl tĕl], 28th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and a founder of the Award. His hand-carved red cedar canoe, Shxwtitostel, currently on display at the BC Legislature buildings, was created as a symbol of reconciliation, with the understanding that “we are all in the same canoe” and must “paddle together” to move forward. In honour of this legacy, this year’s recipients will receive a print of a canoe paddle designed by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Jamie Gentry to commemorate the award. Gentry is the Crabtree McLennan Emerging Artist recipient of the 2022 First Nations Art Award. 

The 2023 recipients of the BC Reconciliation Award will be recognized in a ceremony held at Government House in Victoria in the new year.  

The selection committee for the 2023 British Columbia Reconciliation Award, including representation from Indigenous Elders and leadership, is: 

  • Chief/Kúkpi7 Rosanne Casimir – Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc 
  • Xyolholemo:t, Brenda Crabtree – member of the Spuzzum Band with Nlaka’pamux and Sto:Lo ancestry 
  • p̓i·q̓, Dr. Christopher Horsethief – Ktunaxa Nation 
  • T’esóts’en, Patrick Kelly – Leq’á:mel Nation 
  • Nicole McLaren – Métis Nation 
  • Cloy-e-iis, Dr. Judith Sayers – Hupacasath Nation 
  • T,łalisam, Dr. Kim van der Woerd – ’Namgis Nation 

Interviews with BC Reconciliation Award recipients, as well as the Honourable Janet Austin or representatives of the BC Achievement Foundation, are available upon request. Awardee bios and high-resolution images are available here.

Contact:

Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia: 
Amanda Campbell 
Director of Communications, Programs and Outreach
T: 250-480-8948  
E: amanda.campbell@gov.bc.ca

BC Achievement Foundation: 
Gemma Bishop 
Gather Public Relations 
T: 604-375-6953 
E: gemma@gatherpublicrelations.com 

2023 BC Reconciliation Award Recipients – Backgrounders

Dr. Danièle Behn Smith, Victoria 

Dr. Danièle Behn Smith is Eh Cho Dene of Fort Nelson First Nation and Franco-Manitobain/Métis from the Red River Valley. Danièle has dedicated her medical career to serving rural and First Nations communities across Canada. In 2014, she transitioned to a functional medicine practice, embracing a complex systems biology approach to family practice that aligns with Indigenous approaches to health and healing. Danièle has also served as a board director for the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada, director of education for the University of Alberta’s Indigenous Health Initiatives Program, and site director of the University of British Columbia’s Aboriginal Family practice residency.  

In 2015, Danièle joined the BC Office of the Provincial Health Officer (OPHO) as Deputy Provincial Health Officer, Indigenous Health, providing independent advice and support to the Ministry of Health on Indigenous health matters. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Danièle contributed to identifying and arresting racism in various pandemic responses and policies. This included collaborating with the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and a coalition of First Nations leaders to establish a data-sharing framework expanding the scope of data shared to better support First Nations-led responses. Other anti-racist actions included advocating for the removal of requirements that the Provincial Health Officer approve First Nations-led pandemic response. Under Danièle’s guidance, the OPHO expanded to include six Indigenous team members, ensuring a strong Indigenous voice within the organization.  

A leader who actively advances reconciliation, Danièle works to raise awareness and promote acknowledgement that Indigenous-specific racism is perpetuated through white supremacist policies and practices that remain hardwired into our systems and processes and impede the health and wellness of Indigenous Peoples. She actively works to uphold the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples by taking actions on specific Foundational Commitments made to Indigenous Peoples (e.g., UNDRIP, TRC, MMIWG & In Plain Sight), being trustworthy in relationships with Indigenous partners, and taking anti-racist actions in all aspects of her work with the OPHO. She fosters relationships and collaborations to identify and eliminate racism in programs and services, while also promoting increased Indigenous cultural knowledge among those with whom she works. Danièle challenges the existing ways of knowing and operating within the healthcare system and society at large to improve the well-being of Indigenous communities. 

Last Post Fund – BC Branch, Burnaby 

The Last Post Fund (LPF) is dedicated to ensuring that no Veteran is denied a dignified funeral, burial, or military gravestone due to insufficient funds at the time of their death. Over 18,000 Indigenous Veterans served in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in World War I, II, the Korean War, Afghanistan and other peace keeping missions - often receiving minimal benefits while facing discrimination when they returned home. In March 2019, LPF established the Indigenous Veteran Initiative (IVI) as part of its mission and in alignment with the efforts of the federal and provincial governments towards reconciliation and building a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples. This initiative aims to commemorate and honour Indigenous Veterans by addressing two key components: the Unmarked Grave component and the Traditional Name Marking component.  

The Unmarked Grave Component focuses on providing grave markers to Indigenous Veterans who have been buried without an existing tombstone. These efforts make certain that their resting places are properly recognized and marked while preserving their memory and contribution. The Traditional Name Marking component acknowledges that some Veterans’ names were changed in residential schools or omitted on their military papers. LPF/IVI takes on the responsibility to add the Veteran’s traditional name to any existing tombstone placed by Last Post Fund, ensuring the acknowledgement of their identity and heritage.  

LPF/IVI collaborates with researchers who are either Indigenous Elders or former CAF members working alongside Elders. These researchers follow specific protocols when engaging with Elders, respecting the cultural and community requirements. The involvement of Elders is crucial as they possess valuable knowledge and information about deceased Indigenous Veterans and their histories. The initiative is significant where resources are limited for grave markers. Often, grave sites may only have a wooden marker as a tombstone which has deteriorated over time, leaving the grave unmarked. The LPF/IVI strives to ensure that all Indigenous Veterans receive a proper military marked tombstone, symbolizing their service, sacrifice and commitment to their community.  

Chief Willie Sellars, Williams Lake 

Chief Willie Sellars’ leadership embodies integrity, respect, and a commitment to furthering reconciliation. His efforts inspire others to participate in the collective journey of healing and understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. A member of the Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) of the Secwepemc Nation, Willie was first elected to WLFN Council in 2008. After serving on WLFN Council for a decade, he was elected as Chief in 2018 and is currently in his second term of office. Both as a WLFN employee and an elected official, Willie advocates for reconciliation, recognizing the need for healing from the impacts of colonialism, residential schools, and the Indian Act.  

Willie recognizes that building relationships and partnerships in business creates an avenue for reconciliation. His negotiation of three impact benefit agreements with local mines generated employment opportunities and community revenues used to fund programs for WLFN youth, elders, and vulnerable individuals. As Chief and chief negotiator, Willie concluded the first government-to-government agreement under section 119 of the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, resulting in the establishment of WLFN’s Unity Cannabis retail chain. WLFN Cannabis enterprises employ more than 50 people, the majority of whom are Indigenous.  

Willie works tirelessly to improve governance in his community transitioning WLFN to sectoral self-government over lands with the implementation of a Land Code under the First Nations Land Management Act and a Financial Administration Law pursuant to the First Nations Fiscal Management Act. The last five years have been transformative for WLFN, with more than $40 million in capital projects and development taking place on WLFN lands during that term. 

Working collaboratively with other orders of government, the public and the Catholic Church, Willie played a key role in the investigation of the former residential school at St. Joseph’s Mission. He recognizes that the revitalization of culture and language is key in addressing the impacts of colonization and residential schools. Willie and his Council have made substantial investments in programs and infrastructure to reconnect the community with Secwepemc (Shuswap) roots using a youth focus. In 2022, WLFN held its first competitive powwow. 

Willie always strives for the betterment of his people, writing children’s books, dancing in powwows, playing competitive sports, and engaging in various other community initiatives, and promoting unity and mutual respect among all Canadians.  

The Exploration Place & Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, Prince George  

Prince George’s The Exploration Place (TEP) works alongside Lheidli T’enneh First Nation (LTFN) to safeguard and conserve their cultural assets. In a strong partnership, TEP serves as the designated repository for LTFN’s material history. Together, they have jointly undertaken various initiatives such as developing exhibits, facilitating the repatriation of the return of cultural objects to LTFN and other northern communities, and conducting digitization projects to preserve a vast collection of Dakelh oral histories. TEP and LTFN also prioritize Indigenous programming that aligns with local school board curriculum, and they have future projects in the pipeline including the establishment of a culturally safe childcare centre. These collective endeavours mark significant milestones in deepening the trust and understanding between TEP and LTFN, resulting in a true friendship, and setting an inspiring example to other museums nationwide.   

Their partnership efforts in creating the permanent gallery, Hodul’eh-a: A Place of Learning serves as a model for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities to come together, reclaim traditional spaces, protect cultural assets, and foster a deeper understanding and respect for Indigenous history and experiences. TEP stewards the objects in its collections vault with LTFN maintaining complete ownership. The stories the materials tell belong to LTFN and are told from their perspective. In addition, LTFN has held a permanent position since 1992 on TEP’s board of trustees to ensure the Nation informs museum decision-making.  

TEP’s focus on reconciliation and its partnership with LTFN was achieved through intentional and inclusive efforts. The trust between the two parties has grown over three decades of mutual work leading to a better understanding within their partnership and in the broader community. Museums from across Canada have sought guidance from TEP and initiated similar processes in their own regions. The partnership between TEP and LTFN provides hope that a museum can build the relationship needed to redress a colonial past. The trust and understanding established within this partnership ensure that Northern BC’s museum is a place where cultural learning and practice honour traditions and celebrate a collective future. 

Klith-waa-taa, Dr. Barney Williams, Campbell River 

Klith-waa-taa, Dr. Barney Williams, a hereditary leader from the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation, is renowned for his expertise in Indigenous healing and counselling. Fluent in the Nuu-chah-nulth language, he integrates traditional teachings into his work, particularly in the realm of mental health. Throughout his career, Barney has held notable positions as an executive director and social service administrator, specializing in counselling areas that encompass youth, community prevention, crisis intervention, and addictions. His contributions include the establishment of a ground-breaking counselling program for Indigenous peoples at Vancouver Island University. The program served as a model for the integration of traditional healing knowledge with Western approaches, marking a crucial step towards holistic and culturally responsive care.  

From 2008 to 2015, Barney played a vital role as a member of the Survivor’s Committee for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), offering cultural and spiritual guidance. As a survivor, counsellor, and leader, Barney’s knowledge and personal experiences informed the TRC’s work. As the Elder in Residence, he offered constant support to the TRC staff, and his contributions have been recognized and celebrated by many institutions. In 2017, he received an Honorary Doctorate in Laws from the University of Victoria, acknowledging his exceptional achievements. 

Barney actively encourages personal growth, drawing from his own journey to sobriety. Recognized with the 2022 Courage to Come Back Award, he collaborates closely with First Nations communities, deepening the understanding of addiction and trauma therapy. Barney creates a safe space for survivors to share their stories, preserving the history of residential schools and promoting healing within Indigenous communities. Through reconciliation initiatives, decolonization advocacy, and empowering Indigenous students, Barney embodies Indigenous resilience, inspiring cultural reconnection through community engagement.  

Dr. Eldon Yellowhorn, Burnaby 

Dr. Eldon Yellowhorn (Otahkotskina) is an Indigenous engagement leader in archaeology and academia whose trailblazing efforts have paved the way for subsequent generations of Indigenous scholars and students to thrive in these fields. Eldon joined Simon Fraser University (SFU) faculty in 2002 and helped establish the Department of Indigenous Studies in 2012, serving as its inaugural Chair until 2017. As a speaker of the Blackfoot language, Eldon is dedicated to its preservation. He has contributed his voice to narrate animated videos that incorporate Blackfoot for teaching mathematics. Eldon is now exploring the potential of artificial intelligence to create language learning instruments that allow citizen linguists to participate actively in preserving it. His research explores the potential of machine learning to revitalize Blackfoot and ensure that his generation is not the last to speak it.  

Eldon grew up on a farm on the Peigan Indian Reserve, part of the Piikani Nation. His upbringing nurtured his passion for earth sciences while shaping his professional path. His pursuit of knowledge led him on a learning journey culminating in graduate studies at SFU where he became the first Indigenous student to earn a Master of Arts degree in Archaeology in 1993. He completed his Ph.D. in 2002 at McGill University.  

Beyond his role as an educator at SFU, Eldon served as President of the Canadian Archaeological Association (CAA) from 2010 to 2012 as the first Indigenous person to hold this position. His contributions to the Missing Children Project and the Brandon IRS Cemeteries Project have been invaluable in restoring the dignity and reclaiming the identities of Indigenous children who died at residential schools. Eldon’s commitment to promoting reconciliation principles resonates in his involvement with initiatives such as SFU’s First Peoples’ Gathering House planning committee. His advisory role and close collaboration with SFU’s senior executives help shape the university’s reconciliation efforts. Eldon’s ability and willingness to bridge different worlds inspires others to join forces in creating inclusive and welcoming societies and organizations. 

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 bcachievement.com 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 bcachievement.com. 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.    

Installation of two canoe paddles honour the journey of reconciliation

Photo: the Honourable Janet Austin and T’esóts’en, Patrick Kelly

Two canoe paddles honouring the achievements of the 2021 and 2022 BC Reconciliation Award recipients were installed at Government House on November 22, 2022. The installation of the paddles also marks the call for nominations launch for the 2023 BC Reconciliation Award program.

The BC Reconciliation Award is a partnership between the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and the BC Achievement Foundation, and recognizes individuals, groups and organizations who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, integrity, respect, and commitment to furthering reconciliation or inspired others to continue reconciliation efforts.

The BC Reconciliation Award draws inspiration from the work of the Honourable Steven Point [Xwĕ lī qwĕl tĕl], 28th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and a founder of the Award. His hand-carved red cedar canoe, Shxwtitostel, currently on display at the BC Legislature buildings, was created as a symbol of reconciliation, with the understanding that “we are all in the same canoe” and must “paddle together” to move forward.

In honour of this legacy, each year, recipients are presented with a print of a canoe paddle designed by the Emerging Artist recipient of the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art. 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.

2021 Reconciliation Paddle designed by Kwakwaka’wakw artist, Cole Speck

Paddle description by the artist:
“The sea monster has been carrying people through pre-reconciliation as it travels through the ocean. Now it is climbing out of the waves helping to bridge the gap toward reconciliation. No one has seen the sea monster for centuries but now that we are working towards reconciliation, there is hope that we will see the sea monster once again.”

2022 Reconciliation Paddle by Dene and Carrier artist, Crystal Behn

Paddle description by the artist:
“The traditional hand-smoked moosehide has a story. The moose was hunted, its meat fed many families. Tradition and knowledge were passed on from the hunt right to the art that was created from endless hours of preparing the hide. The beaded flower colours represent every nation. The stitching that runs along the edge represents the mothers and grandmothers that stitched together their children’s moccasins, many of those children did not return home from residential school. The red flower at the tip represents all the murdered and missing Indigenous woman, all our stolen sisters, the life givers. This paddle is bound together in the middle, my hope is that one day all nations will meet in the middle with understanding and compassion for one another. That all Indigenous nations will be accepted and shown mutual respect.”

The nomination period for the Awards will be open from November 22, 2022, until January 20, 2023. Nomination forms are available at bcachievement.com.

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

Canoe Paddles Installed at Government House to Launch Call for Nominations for 2023 BC Reconciliation Award

Two canoe paddles honouring the achievements of the 2021 and 2022 British Columbia Reconciliation Award recipients were installed at Government House on November 22, 2022. The installation of the paddles also marks the call for nominations for the 2023 BC Reconciliation Award.  

The BC Reconciliation Award is a partnership between the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and the BC Achievement Foundation, and recognizes individuals, groups and organizations who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, integrity, respect, and commitment to furthering reconciliation or inspired others to continue reconciliation efforts. The inaugural ceremony recognizing the 2021 and 2022 recipients will take place at Government House in Victoria in the new year. 

The BC Reconciliation Award draws inspiration from the work of the Honourable Steven Point [Xwĕ lī qwĕl tĕl], 28th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and a founder of the Award. His hand-carved red cedar canoe, Shxwtitostel, currently on display at the BC Legislature buildings, was created as a symbol of reconciliation, with the understanding that “we are all in the same canoe” and must “paddle together” to move forward. 

In honour of this legacy, each years’ recipients receive a print of a canoe paddle decorated by the Emerging Artist recipient of the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art. 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 nomination period for the Award will be open from November 22, 2022, until January 20, 2023. Nomination forms are available on the BC Achievement Foundation website, bcachievement.com.

Contact:

Rachel Rilkoff
Communications and Events Officer
Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
778-679-2278
rachel.rilkoff@gov.bc.ca

Gemma Bishop
BC Achievement Foundation
604-375-6953
gemma@gatherpublicrelations.com  

Backgrounder:

2022 Reconciliation Paddle
Artist: Crystal Behn, Dene and Carrier

Paddle description by the artist:

“The traditional hand-smoked moosehide has a story. The moose was hunted, its meat fed many families. Tradition and knowledge were passed on from the hunt right to the art that was created from endless hours of preparing the hide. The beaded flower colours represent every nation. The stitching that runs along the edge represents the mothers and grandmothers that stitched together their children’s moccasins, many of those children did not return home from residential school. The red flower at the tip represents all the murdered and missing Indigenous woman, all our stolen sisters, the life givers. This paddle is bound together in the middle, my hope is that one day all nations will meet in the middle with understanding and compassion for one another. That all Indigenous nations will be accepted and shown mutual respect.”

2021 Reconciliation Paddle
Artist: Cole Speck, Kwakwaka’wakw

Paddle description by the artist:

“The sea monster has been carrying people through pre-reconciliation as it travels through the ocean. Now it is climbing out of the waves helping to bridge the gap toward reconciliation. No one has seen the sea monster for centuries but now that we are working towards reconciliation, there is hope that we will see the sea monster once again.”

Learn about the 2021 and 2022 BC Reconciliation Award recipients: https://ltgov.bc.ca/priority-programs/the-bc-reconciliation-award.

Images of the Reconciliation Paddles and the paddle installation may be downloaded at: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/e5nreb5p3s2seat1ff8ah/h?dl=0&rlkey=d9wfvfib1song8xrz8us3jb2t

Quotes:

The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia:

“As we launch the third year of the British Columbia Reconciliation Award, the image of the paddles resonates stronger than ever. It is through combined effort that paddles move a canoe forward. I see this united strength in our past recipients and look forward to witnessing it in the 2023 nominations. I am deeply honoured to display the Reconciliation Paddles at Government House as a symbol of an ongoing commitment to reconciliation. I encourage all British Columbians to nominate those whose incredible work toward reconciliation has made a deep impact on their lives or communities.”

Cloy-e-iis, Dr. Judith Sayers (Hupacasath Nation), BC Achievement Foundation Board Member:

“Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples is about righting past wrongs. In order for it to be true reconciliation, Indigenous peoples must define what reconciliation is and what is needed to move forward.”

“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.”

“In its third 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 celebrating the 2023 award recipients.”

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

Open for Nominations: BC Reconciliation Award program #nominatenowbc 

Photo: 2022 BC Reconciliation Award recipient, T̓łaḵwagila – Chief Bill Cranmer

“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.” BC Achievement Foundation board member Cloy-e-iis, Dr. Judith Sayers 

There’s been much talk of reconciliation and there are many individuals and organizations who are taking action by implementing ideas and programs to move this effort forward. BC Achievement works in partnership with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia to deliver the program and we are collectively honoured to highlight the program recipients and inspired by their achievements. 

Now in its third year, the British Columbia Reconciliation Award recognizes excellence in the area of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in the province of BC. It aims to showcase leadership in reconciliation so others will follow on the journey forward. Last year six extraordinary individuals and organizations were recognized as recipients of this award for their exceptional leadership, integrity, respect and commitment to furthering reconciliation.  

Who will be recognized as the recipients of the 2023 installment of the award?

It is time to start considering who is doing this work and tell the stories of reconciliation in action throughout the province and #nominatenowbc! Submissions will be accepted starting November 22, 2022, until January 20, 2023. We encourage you to look around in your community and make note of who is doing great work and deserves to be recognized so their story can be shared. Nominations will be accepted online at bcachievement.com and they will be reviewed by a selection committee including representation from Indigenous Elders and leadership. 

November 22 marks the day that the two reconciliation paddles, designed by First Nations artists and former recipients of the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art will be installed at Government House in Victoria. These two paddles, one created for each year of the award, symbolize the inspiration behind the award. The inspiration is the work of the Honourable Steven Point [Xwĕ lī qwĕl tĕl], 28th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and a founder of the award, and his hand-carved red cedar canoe, Shxwtitostel, currently on display at the BC Legislature building. It was created as a symbol of reconciliation, with the understanding that “we are all in the same canoe” and must “paddle together” to move forward. 

Watch for the photos from the paddle installment and congratulations to paddle artists Cole Speck and Crystal Dehn on their artistry and their commitment to reconciliation. 

Don’t forget nominations for the BC Reconciliation Award will be accepted November 22, 2023 – January 20, 2023! #nominatenowbc 

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

Through the lens of emerging artists Cole Speck and Crystal Behn: paddles for the reconciliation journey 

Photo: Cole Speck, Reconciliation Paddle 2021

The British Columbia Reconciliation Award draws inspiration from the work of the Honourable Steven Point [Xwĕ lī qwĕl tĕl], 28th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and a founder of the award program. His hand-carved red cedar canoe, Shxwtitostel, currently on display at the BC Legislature buildings, was created as a symbol of reconciliation, with the understanding that “we are all in the same canoe” and must “paddle together” to move forward. 

In keeping with His Honour’s inspiration and to commemorate the inaugural offering of the award in 2020, BC Achievement commissioned the recipient of the 2020 Crabtree McLennan Emerging Artist for the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art, Cole Speck, to create a paddle design representative of his understanding of the reconciliation journey. Cole, a Kwakwaka’wakw artist, designed a paddle emblematic of his vision: 

“The paddle design represents the sea monster, one of the earliest stories of the Kwakwaka’wakw people. The sea monster has been carrying people through pre-reconciliation as it travels through the ocean. Now it is climbing out of the waves helping to bridge the gap toward reconciliation. No one has seen the sea monster for centuries but now that we are working towards reconciliation, there is hope that we will see the sea monster once again.” 

For each subsequent year of the BC Reconciliation Award program, BC Achievement is honoured to commission the Crabtree McLennan Emerging Artist for the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art to create a paddle design showcasing their understanding of the reconciliation journey.  

Photo: Crystal Behn, Reconciliation Paddle 2022

Crystal Behn, the 2021 recipient of the Crabtree McLennan Emerging Artist designation created a reconciliation paddle using yellow cedar, acrylic, beads, moosehide, fish scales, and caribou hair.  As a Dene and Carrier artist, all of these materials are active components of her practice and the following exposé shares and defines her intimate experience: 

When I worked on this paddle, I experienced many different emotions. What started out as excitement and happiness to be given the opportunity to create and contribute to reconciliation, turned into negative emotions for me.  Reconciliation; 1. the restoration of friendly relations. 2. the action of making one view or belief compatible with another.   

What does reconciliation mean to me? It is a made up hope, an attempt at what colonizers would like to say that is being accomplished. This paddle represents everything reconciliation should be, the freedom to express the culture and tradition that many First Nations were denied. The responsibility of reconciliation is passed onto the children of the future if the lies embedded in Canadian history are not authenticated or brought to light. Why should an entire nation have to keep fighting for equality, the land and their treaty rights while having to face racism head on?  

The traditional hand smoked moosehide has a story. The moose was hunted, its meat fed many families. Tradition and knowledge were passed on from the hunt right to the art that was created from endless hours of preparing the hide. The beaded flower colours represent every nation. The stitching that runs along the edge represents the mothers and grandmothers that stitched together their children’s moccasins, many of those children did not return home from residential school. The red flower at the tip represents all the murdered and missing Indigenous women, all our stolen sisters, the life givers. Women are the strength in our families and communities, why are they being discarded at such an alarming rate? This paddle is bound together in the middle, my hope is that one day all nations will meet in the middle with understanding and compassion for one another. That all Indigenous nations will be accepted and shown mutual respect.” 

Soon, the two paddles will be installed in honour of the achievements of the 2021 and 2022 BC Reconciliation recipients at Government House in Victoria. Recipients will be presented with a limited-edition print at a ceremony planned for January 2023. 

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