A statement from the Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia:
“September 30th marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, recognizing the tragic history and destructive impact of residential schools in Canada. It’s an opportunity to reflect on my relationships with Indigenous communities and leadership, and how I can help advance reconciliation.
I am immensely proud to champion the BC Reconciliation Awards, a platform to celebrate and recognize extraordinary individuals and organizations who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in furthering reconciliation, and inspiring others to do so.
So many Indigenous people in BC have had their lives touched by the tragedies of the Residential School system or been treated unfairly in systems that perpetuate racism and violence. Many recipients of BC Reconciliation Awards have had these experiences, and bravely share their stories in the hope it will inspire resilience and courage in others. The deeply personal story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad and her beloved orange shirt inspired the Orange Shirt Day initiative, moving countless others to do the same.
I acknowledge with respect all who share their stories, and those who process these complex experiences in silence too. You are an inspiration to us all, and we are called by you to the hard work of reconciliation, to build the trust that is needed among different people. Through the examples of the recipients of the BC Reconciliation Awards, and in work being done all throughout the province, we see the transformative power of reconciliation when practiced with authenticity and sustained commitment to real practical change. You give me hope for a better world.”
Images from the first ceremony for the BC Reconciliation Award: