Kamloops, BC—Today, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, in partnership with the BC Achievement Foundation, announced in a news release that the City of Kamloops and the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc have been honored with a British Columbia Reconciliation Award recognizing individuals, groups, and organizations that demonstrate exceptional leadership, integrity, respect, and commitment to furthering the Calls to Action outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s report. Recipients of this provincial award are selected by a committee that includes representation by Indigenous Elders and BC First Nations leadership.
The BC Reconciliation Award comes less than a month after Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian and Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir formally accepted a national Collaboration Award of Excellence from the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators, which also recognizes the achievements of our communities in building relationships towards reconciliation.
“The relationship we have built with the City of Kamloops is fostering meaningful connections and dialogue leading to initiatives that have had a great benefit to both organizations,” said Kúkpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir. “We are honoured to be recognized for charting this path together and hope to be an inspiration to other communities with similar potential for collaboration.”
For more than a decade, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and the City of Kamloops have been building on collaborative initiatives in areas of protocol, communication, and celebrations through shared service agreements, including fire protection, transit, and sanitary sewer management. This partnership has grown through a transparent process committed to acknowledging and celebrating Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc culture, values, and history.
Those years of meaningful relationship building were invaluable when one year ago this spring, our communities bore witness to the tragic confirmation of the unmarked graves of 215 children who were students at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, now known as Le Estcwicwéỳ (The Missing). With the eyes of the nation watching, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc showed vision and strength in sharing their collective grief and in encouraging Canadians to better understand the harmful history and legacy of the residential school system and the inter-generational impacts it has had on Indigenous people.
“This year has been an important reminder that our relationship is one of ongoing reconciliation,” said Mayor Ken Christian. “Because of the enhanced level of trust between our two governments, we’ve been able to face the past together and acknowledge that we may still make mistakes, but we are also looking to the future and can see opportunity and hope in a collaborative path forward. We are honoured by the recognition we have received in this work and are encouraged to continue growing together.”
A formal ceremony to present the BC Reconciliation Award is being planned for the fall.