THE Office of the B.C. Lieutenant Governor, in partnership with the BC Achievement Foundation, on Thursday announced the launch of the British Columbia Reconciliation Award.
This award recognizes individuals, groups and 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.
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.
“As the Crown’s representative in British Columbia, I have a responsibility to show leadership in furthering the cause of reconciliation. I am deeply honoured for this opportunity to recognize the exemplary individuals and organizations who advance reconciliation in our province,” Austin said. “Reconciliation must take root in our hearts, within families, between generations and throughout our communities. I look forward to supporting this award and its deeply meaningful goal of building our relationships with each other across cultures and social barriers.”
The BC Achievement Foundation has several established programs honouring excellence and inspiring achievement throughout British Columbia, including the Indigenous Business Award and the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art.
“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,” said Judith Sayers, board member, BC Achievement Foundation. “The British Columbia Reconciliation Award will 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.”
The British Columbia Reconciliation Award draws inspiration from the work of Steven Point, the 28th lieutenant governor of British Columbia and a founder of the award. His hand-carved red cedar canoe, Shxwtitostel, is on display at the B.C. Parliament Buildings. 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.
“It is a very proud moment for me to witness the launch of the British Columbia Reconciliation Award,” said Point. “Our world and its issues are not apart from us, but rather are a part of who we are. We must not stand by and observe the world, but rather take steps to bring positive change.”
A selection committee for the British Columbia Reconciliation Award will include representation by Indigenous Elders, B.C. First Nations leadership and government partners.
Nomination forms are available on the BC Achievement Foundation website: https://www.bcachievement.com/
The nomination period will be open until January 15, 2021.