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Perry Shawana Award Past Recipients

2017 Award Recipient: Rosalind Williams

Rosalind’s life, education, and career are inseparable from the historical context of her community; in a very short time home life became chaotic and the community deteriorated. She was born in 1949 and grew up on the Splats’In (Spallumcheen) Indian Reserve of the Secwepemc (Shuswap) Nation. Rosalind was the third of eleven (seven surviving) children. She remembers an idyllic early childhood, hunting and fishing, riding horses, and speaking Secwepemc. She has spent three decades with many Elders from the Secwepemc and other nations exploring history, culture, and language. Language preservation and studies continue to be a focus for her. Rosalind is developing a lesson plan for preschool children translating language together with cultural concepts, to be integrated into the Splats’In Childcare Program.

2016 Award Recipient: Lenora Joe and the staff at Mem7iman Child Development Program

Lenora and the staff at Mem7iman are remarkable educators and advocates. Mem7iman Child Development Program is truly inspiring and innovative and is situated in the heart of the Shishalh community. Mem7iman’s program is rooted in culture, a connection to the land and a practice of responsive curriculum. The leadership demonstrates a commitment to high quality practices, strength-based, family-centred approaches and dedication to supporting staff to access high quality professional development. Mem7iman is a true leader in the field of Aboriginal Early Child Development (ECD). At Mem7iman the children and teachers are seen as researchers, working together to further their education and this effort makes them this year’s choice for the Perry Shawana Award.

2015 Award Recipient: Hereditary Chief Maureen Chapman

Shxwetelemel-elhot (Shwi tall mol eth lot), also known as Hereditary Chief Maureen Chapman, was born in Clearwater, BC then moved to Washington State where she graduated from high school, and raised her family.

After returning to BC, Maureen studied at the University of the Fraser Valley and also began her Council work for Skawahlook First Nation, a member community of the Sto:lo Nation, known as the People of the River.

Skawahlook First Nation practices a matrilineal system and Maureen was handed the responsibility of being Hereditary Chief of her Nation in 1999.

In addition to her Council duties, she is the political Chair for the Aboriginal Children and Families Chiefs Coalition, which is comprised of 13 Chiefs as the Board members, who advocate for programs and services for children and families within their communities.

She is also involved with several committees and boards that are committed to upholding First Nations Rights and Health issues.

Hereditary Chief Maureen Chapman’s commitment to Aboriginal Early Childhood Development and Care and her tireless efforts in defense of Aboriginal Rights and support of First Nations communities, and our children’s health and wellness are what make her this year’s choice for the Perry Shawana Award.

2014 Award Recipient: Grand Chief Stewart Phillip

Currently the President of the UBCIC, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip has constantly served First Nations communities within Band administration, by sitting on Council, and in a wide variety of roles. Throughout his esteemed career, he has been a champion for Aboriginal communities and our children. His defense of Aboriginal Rights and support of First Nations communities, and our children’s health and wellness is undying.

He gives generously of his energy to take an active role in the defense of Aboriginal Title and Rights by readily offering support to Native communities in need and has taken a personal approach seeing first-hand proposed mining sites in the heart of the Sacred Headwaters, Taku River and Teztan Biny. He has seen the fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago, he has met the Prime Minister on Parliament Hill, he has paddled the Peace River with Elders, leadership and youth of Treaty 8 as they fight the proposed Site C, he has burned referendum ballots with fellow chiefs in protest and proudly stood on the steps of the Legislature with 3000 other people united under the Title and Rights Alliance banner. These are a few examples of his dedication to the rights, health and well-being of Aboriginal people, communities, and children.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip’s commitment to Aboriginal Early Childhood Development and Care and his tireless efforts in defense of Aboriginal Title and Rights are inspiring.

2013 Award Recipient: Tyrone McNeil

Tyrone McNeil is from Seabird Island of the Sto:lo and is father to two daughters 14 and 22 years old. Tyrone has been involved in First Nation education, languages and children and families advocacy for about 15 years. In that time he has come to learn the importance of early childhood development and early childhood education specific to First Nations.

As past chair of the First Nation Early Childhood Development Council, Tyrone worked with like-minded First Nations throughout the province to develop the First Nation Early Childhood Development Framework. The Framework is meant to bring all First Nations in the province together in the early creation of a First Nation ECD/ECE system built for and by First Nations. It is with collaboration and involvement of all those with capacity in ECD/ECE that we will map out and implement a system to maximum benefit of First Nations children, parents, families and communities.

2012 Award Recipient: Dr. Jessica Ball

Dr. Jessica Ball is a professor in the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria. She has worked extensively in innovative programs to sustain cultural diversity and support community development in the interests of children and families. In 1999, she joined the First Nations Partnership Program, which has broken new ground in re-conceptualizing early childhood education and training, and advancing the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge into our understanding of how to protect and promote child well-being while sustaining culture, traditional languages, and community social structures. Over the last 15 years, Dr. Ball has worked with many of our First Nations and Aboriginal communities in the development of early childhood programs and services and has mentored Aboriginal students into leadership roles.

Dr. Ball is the author of over 40 refereed journal articles and book chapters. In addition, Dr. Ball’s research with First Nations partners has documented the process and outcomes of innovative work in rural First Nations communities that have created inter-sectoral and integrated community-based children’s services. To represent these promising practices, she has elaborated the concept of ‘hook and hub’ and has received international recognition for her recent book about this approach: Early Childhood Care and Development Programs as Hook and Hub: Promising Practices in First Nations Communities.

2011 Award Recipient: Rose Point

Rose Point is from Thompson River, Seabird Island. She married Cagney Point of Musqueam, where she still resides today. Rose has focused much of her life on health care and has held long-term commitments with the Musqueam Education Department, the Vancouver School Board, the UBC Institute of Aboriginal Health, Vancouver Coastal Health and the Native Indian Teacher Education Program at UBC. Having witnessed seven generations of her own family, she has also fostered many children and has been trained by family midwives. Rose enjoys sharing her wealth of knowledge about traditional infant child care, medicinal plants and general health care practices. She is the Elder in Residence at the UBC First Nations House of Learning, British Columbia’s Institute of Technology (BCIT) and the UBC Institute for Aboriginal Health. She has received numerous awards for early childcare education service and is a shining example of the pursuit of lifelong learning and community service.

2010 Award Recipient: Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond

Ms. Turpel-Lafond was appointed BC’s first Representative for Children and Youth in 2006, and was re-appointed for a second 5 year term beginning in the Fall of 2011. She is a member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and a champion for the voices, rights and well-being of our children.

2009 Award Recipient: Dr. Margo Greenwood

Dr. Margo Greenwood is the Academic Lead at the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health (NCCAH) in Prince George. She is an Indigenous scholar of Cree ancestry with more than 20 years’ experience in the field of early childhood education.

2008 Award Recipient: Grand Chief Edward John (Akile Ch’oh)

Grand Chief Edward John (First Nations Summit) is a Hereditary Chief of Tl’azt’en Nation located on the banks of the Nak’al Bun (Stuart Lake) in Northern BC. Having worked as a leader in Indigenous politics, business and community development, he has dedicated his life to the pursuit of social and economic justice for Canada’s Indigenous people.

2007 Award Recipient: Cindy Blackstock

A member of the Gitksan Nation, Cindy Blackstock has worked in the field of child and family services for over 20 years. An author of over 50 publications, her key interests include exploring and addressing the causes of disadvantage for Aboriginal children and families by promoting equitable and culturally based interventions.

2006 Award Recipient: Debra Foxcroft

Debra Foxcroft is a member of Tseshaht First Nation, located in Port Alberni. She has worked with First Nations communities for over 25 years and was involved in the creation of the first delegated First Nations agency in BC. In her work for and with Aboriginal children and families, she strives to implement the vision of Aboriginal communities reclaiming responsibility for their children – a vision that has been in the hearts of First Nations for many generations.

2005 Award Recipient: Chief Emma Palmantier

Chief Emma Palmantier, Lake Babine Nation, has extensive experience in northern health issues and Aboriginal politics. In addition to her work as Chief of the Lake Babine Nation, she has also served on the Provincial Chiefs Health Committee and worked for the College of New Caledonia and for the Northern Health Authority.

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