A pair of painted canoe paddles now hang in B.C.’s Government House in Victoria, representing people paddling a canoe towards reconciliation.
The paddles honour the 15 BC Reconciliation Award recipients from this year and last year.
The awards recognize people who demonstrate a commitment to righting colonial wrongs and creating a vibrant future.
B.C.’s lieutenant governor and a member of the award selection committee installed the paddles Tuesday morning.
“The BC Reconciliation Awards really represents an opportunity for all British Columbians to share in those core values that we all have as human beings,” said T’esóts’en, also known as Patrick Kelly, one of the BC Reconciliation Award selection committee members.
“That’s what ‘pulling together’ really means. It’s, ‘How do we help one other, how do we understand one another?'” he said.
The 2021 paddle was created by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Cole Speck, and the 2022 paddle was created by Crystal Behn, a beader of Dene and Carrier descent.
The paddles are pictured hanging in B.C.’s Government House. (CTV News)
“The paddles represent the concept of ‘we’re all in this together,'” said Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.
“We need to understand how to paddle together in order to move together as a society, to move forward and to create the kind of shared prosperity that we want in the province,” she said.
The installation of the paddles coincided with the call for nominations for the 2023 BC Reconciliation Awards.
The inaugural awards ceremony recognizing the 2021 and 2022 recipients will take place at Government House in 2023.
You can nominate someone for next year’s awards through the BC Achievement Foundation website.