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.

Congratulations to the 2022 Fulmer Award in First Nations Art recipients! 

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022 Fulmer Award in First Nations Art!  

Congratulations to the 2022 Awardees: 

The Fulmer Award in First Nations Art program creates a platform for community engagement, mentorship and storytelling while celebrating the intersection of art and culture and honouring First Nations artistic traditions. This year’s celebration of the 2022 Fulmer Award in First Nations Art recipients includes a series of short films showcasing each awardee’s artistic accomplishments which will be premiered at an award ceremony next month. Each recipient will receive a certificate and medallion in honour of their achievements. 

The awardees demonstrate artistic innovation and creativity, while building on deep traditions. Jamie, Latham, Dylan and Reg have each demonstrated a commitment to their practice, accumulated a body of work, and are recognized in their communities for their craft. 

BC Achievement is honoured to feature the 2022 recipients in a joint exhibition celebrating the recipients of the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art and the Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art + Design at The Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre in Vancouver from November 14 to November 18, 2022. 

The Fulmer Award in First Nations Art is made possible through the generous support of the Vancouver-based Fulmer Foundation. The BC Achievement Foundation is also grateful to community partners BC Ferries, Crafted Vancouver, Denbigh Fine Art Services, TELUS and The Roundhouse  and media partners CFNR, First Nations Drum, The Frog Radio, Global BC and Stir, each of which play a key role in elevating change in their support of the Fulmer Award program.  

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.

Join us at an art exhibition celebrating the artwork of the Carter Wosk and Fulmer Awardees  

A public art exhibition visually shares knowledge, celebrates artists and provides space for gathering and shared dialogue. Starting November 14, BC Achievement will be hosting an exhibition to highlight the artwork of the 2022 recipients of its two art award programs. 

Since 2006, the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art (FNA) program has celebrated the intersection of art and culture, while honouring First Nations artistic traditions. The program recognizes artistic excellence in traditional or contemporary visual arts by First Nations artists and aims to create an authentic space for community engagement, mentorship and storytelling. In this space traditions are passed onto younger generations and shared with a BC-wide audience. So far, the program has shone a light on 88 outstanding artists. 

Likewise, the Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art + Design (AAD) program has highlighted functional art which enhances day-to-day life for individuals while enriching our collective experiences. It celebrates British Columbians whose work directly contributes to the cultural and economic fabric of the province and drives innovation in functional art. To date, this award program has celebrated over 75 artists and designers! 

Highlighting the artistic skills of artists helps to advance the collective conversation around art in this province and serves as a unifying platform to share cultural history and artistic innovation with fellow citizens.  

BC Achievement will be shining a light on the 2022 FNA and AAD Awardees in part through a joint public art exhibition housed at The Roundhouse in Vancouver from Monday, November 14 until Friday, November 18. It will be open 9am to 10pm each day aside from Tuesday and Thursday when the exhibit will be closed at 2pm. 

Watch for the announcement of awardees of both programs later this month on BC Achievement’s website, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn channels! And come and visit the FNA and AAD Art Exhibition and celebrate excellence with us! 

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

The 2022 Indigenous Business Awardees have just been announced! 

Let’s raise our hands for the eight recipients who represent excellence in Indigenous business from around the province. 

The Indigenous Business Award (IBA) program honours excellence and focuses on the successes of Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs. The program offers awardees and their supporters an authentic space to showcase their achievements and build bridges between BC’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous economies. 

The awardees announced today are: 

Dark Arc Welding Inc., Dawson Creek, recipient in the Young Entrepreneur category 

dk Architecture, North Vancouver, recipient in the 1-2 Person Enterprise category 

Culture Shock Life, Alert Bay, 3-10 Person Enterprise category 

Warrior Plumbing, North Vancouver, 11+ Person Enterprise category 

M’i nuw’ilum Marina Inc., Sooke, Community-Owned 1 Entity category 

Sasuchan Development Corporation, Takla Lake, Community-Owned 2+ Entities category 

Central Chilcotin Rehabilitation Ltd., Williams Lake, Business Partnership of the Year category 

Chief David Jimmie, Chilliwack, Award of Distinction 

These awardees are representative of excellence in Indigenous business, not just for the practical day-to-day work they do and the communities they serve, but because their efforts are preparing the path for our youth and future generations through Thuyshaynum: preparing the path, directing the feet. 

“When we come together to celebrate Indigenous business achievement, we are also blazing a path for today’s youth and for the generations that will follow. The Indigenous Business Award program recognizes business achievement, honouring innovative ideas and new ways of making our economy more robust and more inclusive,” said foundation Chair, Anne Giardini. “Every year, the enterprises recognized with an Indigenous Business Award highlight ways we all benefit from an ongoing reconciliation of the practices of the past with the economies of the future.”  

Congratulations to each of the awardees on their successes and serving as inspirations to others.  

The awardees will be celebrated at the IBA Gala on November 29 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Ticket details are available at bcachievement.com.

Join us to honour the awardees! #IBAGala 

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

Orange Shirt Day: The Hearts and Spirits of Our Children

Photo: The author’s grandmother, Slhu’muhw (rain) Edith Silvey

When my mother was in university studying the history of Indigenous people in Canada, I attended a talk by an author who created a chart of the generational effects of residential schools. As I was trying to place myself across the page into a certain category, I thought I was surely in the far-right side of the chart that listed 8th or 9th generation. However, to my surprise, I was in the second column to the left meaning I was second generation. And my journey of research began as I started asking some hard questions.      

I quickly learned that my grandmother attended the Kuper Island residential school. She was four years old when she was taken from her family. While she was there, she endured much of the brutal beatings that we often hear about. She left with permanent deformation in her hands due to being thrown down the stairs and not being permitted to see a doctor; along with the emotional trauma that would be passed down for generations.   

As the announcement of the unmarked graves started to unfold, I knew they would eventually reveal the number of children who were buried on Kuper Island. This hit close to home and the heart as I wondered how many of them are my family. How many of those little children were used to do government approved nutrition experiments, which ones were brutally beaten or were they all? How does one wrap their thinking around a small child who only knows one language suffering needles in the tongue? My heart sank with the confirmation of what elders have been telling us for generations. The unmarked graves that hold our aunties, uncles, and many others were finally being acknowledged.

Artwork: Grandmother by Satuts Stsuhwum Angela Marston

Despite the years of torture, my grandmother grew into a strong and powerful First Nations businesswoman. With five children and then her husband’s passing she instantly became a single mother. She ran an oyster lease during a time that it was illegal for Indigenous women to own or operate a business, but she did it anyways. She spoke five languages including Chinook, a trade language developed amongst businesspeople on the Coast. She will always be the definition of strength. It was her determination and her will to live that allows me to be here today.   

As we all take time to reflect on the horrific history and the meaning of Truth and Reconciliation, we look forward to building collaborative and meaningful relationships. As the original peoples of these lands, we take pause to honour and remember the children that survived and commemorate those who tragically did not.  

In our hearts we hold your memories, and we pray your spirits can finally rest in peace.   

#orangeshirtday 

In gratitude to Satuts Stsuhwum (North wind strong and clear) Angela Marston, guest blogger and Program Director of the Indigenous Business Award.

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

Dr. Yosef Wosk on how the Carter Wosk Award unites both art and design 

Photo: 2020 Carter Wosk Awardee & Ceramist, Janaki Larsen, Shelter

Dr. Yosef Wosk delivered a thoughtful and empowering speech to the awardees, their colleagues, friends and families the last time the event was held in person for the Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art + Design presentation ceremony. 

He spoke of the age-old debate between art versus design, what distinguishes art from design, and how this award unites them both. 

“The artist, the fine artist, the free artist, the pure artist operates more perhaps as a shaman, as a revolutionary, as a transformer and as a lover. Whereas the applied artist’s work is more often thought of as domesticated, as tamed, as practical, as ritualized.

Perhaps the greatest champion and master of applied art and design was Willam Morris, the author, the designer, the printer and the seller of this book from the Kelmscott Press 130 years ago. One of his most famous statements, ‘if you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it, have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’. 

There are two different things he’s brought together as we have brought together tonight art and design. ‘Know’ means to understand; it’s a rational idea, it’s logic, it’s most often related to practical design. And ‘believe’ is more transcendent, intuitive, the pure art.  

Those who we celebrate this evening are among the few, the rare, the best who are both artists and designers, mystics and manufacturers. You are the hybrid few who bridge both worlds and allow the rest of us to cross between otherwise unreachable dimensions.” 

Wise words from a patron of the arts, and one of the individuals for whom this is award is named.  

We are looking forward to once again gathering to celebrate the artists and designers who make daily-use products more aesthetically charged. Your chance to see the works of these applied artists is from November 14 – 18 at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Vancouver. Pop in for a visit of the exhibition featuring pieces from the 2022 Carter Wosk Awardees and the artwork of the 2022 Fulmer Award in First Nations Art recipients. 

More details will be announced in the coming month! 

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

Indigenous Business Excellence: the legacy of the Award of Distinction designation 

Photo: 2017 Recipients of the Indigenous Business Award

Celebrating excellence since 2009, the Indigenous Business Award (IBA) program boasts over 200 remarkable businesses within its alumni. Presented in partnership with the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and generously supported by our sponsorship family the program elevates the stories of IBA awardees, invests in their achievements while shining a light on business excellence and innovation so others may follow their example. 

Within its alumni are a select group of achievers who serve as entrepreneurial change makers within the Indigenous economy. These individuals have received the annual Award of Distinction designation: each is remarkable in their own right and has a story which needs to be held up and shared so their efforts continue to inspire. 

The Award of Distinction is presented to a person who, over his or her career, has made a significant difference in the Indigenous business community through his or her entrepreneurial endeavours and, in doing so, serves as a leader, role model, mentor and inspiration. The individual may be a pioneer in his or her business activities, a successful entrepreneur, or an individual who has been instrumental in supporting or creating Indigenous business activities in the province. 

We salute the past Award of Distinction recipients and their legacy:

2009 Dorothy Grant & Angelique Merasty Levac  
2010 Dolly (Watts) McRae & John Harper  
2011 Chief Clarence Louie  
2012 Chief Councillor Garry Reece 
2013 Chief Commissioner Sophie Pierre & Ruth Williams 
2014 Councillor Garry Feschuk 
2015 James Walkus 
2016 Robert Louie 
2017 Chief Gibby Jacob
2018 Chief Gordon Planes 
2019 Paulette Flamond 
2020 Carol Anne Hilton 
2021 Ken Cameron 

Indigenous Business Award of Distinction recipients serve as examples of resilience and innovation and while delivering a message of hope and optimism for the future. Their legacy, tenacity and hard work, ensures the rightful place of Indigenous businesses in British Columbia.  

Achievement is defined as strength, courage and skill –  and is embodied by the Award of Distinction recipients in their respective lives. The 2022 Award of Distinction designation will be announced next month in concert with the release of the 14th annual Indigenous Business Award recipients. 

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

Announcing the 2022 Indigenous Business Award (IBA) Gala Directors of Ceremonies:
Carol Anne Hilton and Geena Jackson 

In all they do, Carol Anne and Geena elevate, share and inspire everything that is Indigenous Business. The IBA program is honoured to welcome this dynamic duo to the stage to lead the proceedings and celebrate the 2022 award recipients at the presentation ceremony this coming November. 

After what will be a three-year hiatus, the highly anticipated IBA Gala Dinner is back with Carol Anne and Geena leading the way on November 29 at the Hotel Vancouver. These strong Indigenous womanpreneurs have been change makers in the Indigenous economy for the past 20 years. 

No stranger to the IBA stage, award alumna Carol Anne of Nuu chah nulth descent from the Hesquiaht Nation on Vancouver Island, is committed to increasing the visibility and inclusion of Indigenous business and economic growth globally. First recognized with an IBA in 2013, Carol received the program’s Award of Distinction designation in 2020 – saluting her remarkable leadership through the Indigenomics Institute and its accompanying #indigenomics movement. Carol Anne is also the author of the award winning ‘Indigenomics: Taking A Seat at the Economic Table’.   

Geena, a member of the Frog Clan of the shíshálh (Sechelt) Nation on BC’s Sunshine Coast, has contributed to the growth of over 530 Indigenous entrepreneurs, organizations and First Nations communities. She currently is the inspirational innovator and founder of Bear’s Lair – the soon to be aired reality tv show on ATPN TV this fall (Season 1 launches on September 11)! Geena understands the challenges facing entrepreneurs and she is motivated by the sense of accomplishment and pride people feel when they succeed in turning their dreams into reality. A longtime supporter and consistent (and successful) nominator of the IBA program, Geena is a force who passionately empowers others while leading by example. 

Join these two powerful Indigenous women and celebrate the 2022 IBA recipients on November 29 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver – tickets on sale beginning September 21! 

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

Understanding Awardee stories Awardees through the magic of film 

Photo: 2019 Awardee, Doreen Manuel

What does it take to tell a story? To make it compelling? To truly reflect the voice of its subject? To inspire others by its message and create a legacy? 

Well, a whole lot goes into creating a film that captures it all. BC Achievement has been producing films on its awardees since 2006! There are close to a hundred short films you can peruse on BC Achievement’s YouTube channel and although their style has evolved over the years, you’ll note that they all have something compelling to share: 

In her recognition film, Doreen Manuel, Fulmer Award alumna, draws us in with her retelling of her grandmother teaching her to bead and its powerful legacy.  

We learn what compelled Indigenous Business Awardee Nicole McLaren from selecting books by Indigenous authors for her book club, to launching a business that shares those books with people around the world.  

And we are inspired by the magical forest setting of ceramicist and Carter Wosk Award of Distinction alumnus, Gordon Hutchens, where he mixes colour, creates shapes and fires clay into beautiful art. 

The film production is itself a work of art and the process begins as soon as the awardees are selected by the independent jury. After contacting the awardees to let them know they have received the award, production goes into high gear with pre-interviews, availability for shooting secured, and meeting with the awardee in person to film and instill their voice into the storyline. Then comes collecting B-roll – images and footage that will supplement the visuals in the film. Finally, the film is edited together, music is selected, graphics are added and voilà, the film is complete. Okay, so not always as smooth as that, but we are very fortunate to work with some very talented filmmakers who make the process pretty seamless. 

Everyone has a story. BC Achievement is privileged to be able to capture it and share it for the awardees of the Fulmer Award, the Indigenous Business Award and the Carter Wosk Award of Distinction.  

Take some time to watch these films and prepare to learn something new and be inspired! 

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