The Exploration Place and Lheidli T'enneh First Nation have won a 2023 Reconciliation Award.
the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of B.C., in partnership with BC Achievement Foundation, has chosen the recipients of the third annual British Columbia Reconciliation Award.
The award recognizes four extraordinary individuals and two organizations that have demonstrated exceptional leadership, integrity, respect, and commitment to furthering reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia, or inspired others to continue reconciliation efforts.
Exploration Place and Lheidli T'enneh First Nation were chosen as one of the organizations to be honoured.
They were chosen together for their work to safeguard and conserve Lheidli T’enneh cultural assets.
Together, they have jointly undertaken various initiatives such as developing exhibits, facilitating the repatriation of the return of cultural objects to Lheidli T’enneh and other northern communities, and conducting digitization projects to preserve a vast collection of Dakelh oral histories.
The two also prioritize Indigenous programming that aligns with local school board curriculum, and they have future projects in the pipeline including the establishment of a culturally safe childcare centre.
These collective endeavours mark significant milestones in deepening the trust and understanding between The Exploration Place and Lheidli T’enneh, resulting in a true friendship, and setting an inspiring example to other museums nationwide.
Their partnership provides hope that a museum can build the relationship needed to redress a colonial past.
"Reconciliation acts as the cornerstone for fostering meaningful connections and bridging the divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. By acknowledging the historical injustices and illuminating transformative actions, we inspire others to tread the same path," said Cloy-e-iis, Judith Sayers, a member of the board of BC Achievement.
“As we enter the third year of the British Columbia Reconciliation Award, we continue to shine a light on empowering approaches that allow Indigenous Peoples to flourish while positively impacting all communities.”
The other recipients include Dr. Danièle Behn Smith (Victoria), Chief Willie Sellars (Williams Lake), Klith-waa-taa, Dr. Barney Williams (Campbell River), Dr. Eldon Yellowhorn (Burnaby) as well as the Last Post Fund – BC Branch (Burnaby).
This year's recipients will receive a print of a canoe paddle designed by Kwakwaka'wakw artist Jamie Gentry to commemorate the award. Gentry is the Crabtree McLennan Emerging Artist recipient of the 2022 First Nations Art Award.
The 2023 recipients of the BC Reconciliation Award will also be recognized in a ceremony held at Government House in Victoria in the new year.