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Williams Lake First Nation chief calls B.C. reconciliation award ‘special’

Willie Sellars one of a handful to be honoured for their efforts in a Jan. 18 ceremony in Victoria
Williams Lake First Nation Chief Willie Sellars. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake First Nation Chief Willie Sellars has been walking the road of reconciliation long enough to appreciate the sign posts along the way.

Sellars was among a group of citizens accepting a 2023 British Columbia reconciliation award Thursday, Jan. 18 in Victoria.

“It’s pretty special,” Sellars told Black Press Media Thursday as he waited at the Williams Lake Regional Airport to board his flight to Victoria. “It shows all the work done by WLFN and the team and our membership.”

The award recognizes individuals, groups and organizations who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, integrity, respect and commitment to furthering reconciliation or inspired others to continue reconciliation efforts.

Sellars was nominated by the city of Williams Lake under the leadership of Mayor Surinderpal Rathor.

He said the city has opened up and is being a big part of WLFN’s reconciliation journey.

“We are proud of WLFN, individually as a council, and community and to see the city step up in the way it has and be a part of that is pretty special. There is no way we could do it without the collaboration of the city and Mayor Surinderpal Rathor.”

Sellars was first elected to Williams Lake First Nation council in 2008. Under the mentorship of former chief Ann Louie he then ran for chief and was elected in 2018.

He is a father, athlete, and author, aside from being a leader.

Other recipients of the award in 2023 are Dr. Daniele Behn Smith, Klith-waa-taa Dr. Barney Williams, Dr. Eldon Yellowhorn, Last Post Fund - BC Branch and Exploration Place with the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation.

“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 in a news release.

Lieutenant governor of B.C. Jane Austin said in a news release for the third year of the awards, she continues to be inspired by the impact of the achievements of the 2023 recipients and all who were nominated.

“The recipients demonstrate commitment to community, education, and recognizing the challenges of the past while honouring those who came before us. They are an inspiration to me, and to all British Columbians, in their call to do the meaningful work of reconciliation and support its transformative power to create real change.

Tk’emlups te Secwépemc and the City of Kamloops received the award jointly in 2022.

READ MORE: City of Williams Lake to nominate Williams Lake First Nation chief for BC reconciliation award

READ MORE: Williams Lake hires Indigenous relations, climate action, active transportation coordinator

Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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