Carrier Sekani Family Services (CSFS) is one of the first recipients of the inaugural 2021 British Columbia Reconciliation Award.
The award recognizes nine individuals and organizations who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, integrity, respect and commitment to furthering reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in the province or inspired others to continue reconciliation efforts.
This award was created through a partnership between BC Achievement and The Office of the Lieutenant Governor of B.C., a news release explains.
CSFS received the award in recognition of the Nowh Guna "Our Way" Foot in Both Worlds Carrier Agility Training.
The Nowh Guna "Our Way" Foot in Both Worlds Carrier Agility Training started in 2017 as a training program for all people to learn basic information on Carrier culture as well as to acquire some basic tenets of cultural awareness and humility to best support communities and provide culturally competent services and service delivery.
“I am very happy to accept this award from the Lieutenant Governor of B.C. and BC Achievement, it is a wonderful recognition of our efforts in sharing our values and histories,” stated Chief Corrina Leween, CSFS President of the Board.
“We see also see this award as an acknowledgement of the hard work and commitment from people who work at CSFS with diverse backgrounds and their contributions toward reconciling with past injustices.”
Now in its fifth year, the CSFS training program continues to be delivered, presently in digital form, and is now provided both internally and externally to organizations, business and agencies from across the province as recognition of the training is increased
In 2020, the Prince George-based organization celebrated 30 years of working hard to provide holistic wellness services for member nations, initially created to reassert First Nations control of justice, health, social and family services, all of which have suffered through the process of colonization.
"Our staff work together across various disciplines to provide the best possible holistic wellness services to First Nations people in Carrier and Sekani territory," says CSFS.
The British Columbia Reconciliation Award draws inspiration from the work of Steven Point [Xwĕ lī qwĕl tĕl], 28th lieutenant governor of B.C., and a founder of the award. His hand-carved red cedar canoe, Shxwtitostel, on display in B.C.'s Parliament 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 his legacy, this year's recipients will receive a print of a canoe paddle painted to commemorate the award by Kwakwaka'wakw artist Cole Speck.