PHOTOS: Artists’ palettes hung in Victoria symbolize commitment to reconciliation

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Paddles were installed by the Lieutenant Governor. Awards Selection Committee member Janet Austin and T’esots’en Patrick Kelly opened the call for nominations for the 2023 BC Reconciliation Awards Nov. 22. (Courtesy of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia)
T'esots'en award selection committee member Patrick Kelly holds a paddle created by Kwakwaka'wakw artist Cole Speck at Government House in Victoria.  (Brendan Mayer/press team)T’esots’en award selection committee member Patrick Kelly holds a paddle created by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Cole Speck at Government House in Victoria. (Brendan Mayer/press team)
Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin hangs a paddle created by Dene beader and carrier Crystal Behn at Government House in Victoria.  (Brendan Mayer/press team)Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin hangs a paddle created by Dene beader and carrier Crystal Behn at Government House in Victoria. (Brendan Mayer/press team)

Paddles honoring the achievements of the 2022 and 2021 BC Reconciliation Award recipients now hang in Government House.

Both paddles were installed Nov. 22 by the Lieutenant Governor. Awards Selection Committee member Janet Austin and T’esots’en Patrick Kelly are calling for nominations for the 2023 BC Reconciliation Awards.

“This is a great opportunity for all British Columbians to come together,” Kelly said. “That’s the beauty of reconciliation awards.”

The awards are a partnership between the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia and the BC Achievement Foundation to recognize individuals, groups and organizations who have demonstrated leadership, integrity, respect and commitment to fostering reconciliation or who have inspired others to pursue reconciliation efforts. The inaugural ceremony recognizing the 2021 and 2022 recipients will take place at Government House in Victoria in the New Year.

“It’s a great pleasure for me,” Austin said. “I encourage people to take a look at this award and think about the organizations and individuals who truly represent the meaning of reconciliation in all its dimensions.”

The award is inspired by the work of Steven Point, Xwe li qwel tel, 28th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia and founder of the award. His hand-carved red cedar canoe, Shxwtitostel, on display in the British Columbia Parliament Buildings, was created as a symbol of reconciliation, with the understanding that “we are all in the same canoe” and should “paddle together.” ” to go forward.

Each year’s recipients receive a copy of a canoe paddle designed by the emerging artist who won the Fulmer Prize in First Nations Art. The 2021 paddle was created by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Cole Speck, and the 2022 paddle by beader Dene and Carrier Crystal Behn.

“Traditional hand-smoked moose hide has a history,” Behn said in an artist statement about the 2022 Reconciliation Paddle. “Moose was hunted, its meat fed many families. Tradition and knowledge have been passed down from the hunt to the art that has been created from endless hours of hide preparation. The colors of the pearl flowers represent each nation. The seam that runs along the edge represents the mothers and grandmothers who sewed their children’s moccasins together, many of these children did not return from boarding school. The red flower at the tip represents all of the murdered and missing indigenous women, all of our stolen sisters, the givers of life. This paddle is bound in the middle. My hope is that one day all nations will meet in the middle with understanding and compassion for one another. May all Aboriginal nations be accepted and mutually respect each other.

Speck describes the reconciliation paddle of 2021: “The sea monster carried people through the pre-reconciliation as it journeyed across the ocean. Now he’s coming out of the waves and helping to bridge the gap towards 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 again.

Applications are open until January 20, 2023, with online forms at bcachievement.com.

The winners will be announced next spring.


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