Keith Henry, Gertie Guerin Visionary Award
Keith Henry is a Métis person who began his career in 1995 with teaching positions and became well known for his strategic administrative and negotiations skills. These skills lead him into communication and consultation with provincial and federal government agencies and success as a financial administrator of numerous Indigenous non-profits. From there, Keith has become an Indigenous cultural tourism leader receiving international recognition as the former CEO for Indigenous Tourism Association of British Columbia (ItBC)
Keith continues to be recognized across the country and has led many new initiatives such as the development of national standards on market readiness and authenticity in Indigenous Tourism, the assessment of cruise industry opportunities for Indigenous communities and a national research project assessing the economic value of Indigenous cultural tourism.
Currently, Keith is the CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada and KCD Consulting Incorporated as well as the President and CEO of the BC Métis Federation and the Director of Tourism HR Canada.
Melanie Mark, Chief Joe Mathias Leadership Award
Melanie Mark was appointed Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training on July 18, 2017. A lifelong champion of children, youth and her community, she was elected MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant in 2016 and re-elected in 2017.
Melanie is Nisga’a, Gitxsan, Cree, Ojibway, French and Scottish and a proud mother of two girls – Maya and Makayla.
She is the first female First Nations Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia and subsequent Cabinet Minister.
Growing up in the projects of East Vancouver, Melanie’s efforts to overcome adversity shaped her personal beliefs and professional career. For eight years, she travelled throughout British Columbia while working as an Advocate at the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth – an independent office of the legislature serving one of the province’s most-vulnerable populations.”
A believer in the power of post-secondary education, Melanie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in Sociology from Simon Fraser University, as well as a Criminology Diploma from the Native Education College / Douglas College partnership. She holds an Advanced Executive Certificate in General Management from the Queen’s University School of Business in Kingston, Ontario.
With family ties to Northern British Columbia, Melanie has advocated for her community and has volunteer experience for multiple community organizations like Big Sisters and the Urban Native Youth Association. She co-founded the Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Centre, worked with the Native Courtworker and Counselling Association, Covenant House Vancouver and was the National Aboriginal Project Coordinator with Save the Children Canada’s Sacred Lives project.
Dr. Evan Adams, George Manuel Educational Excellence Award
Evan Tlesla II Adams is a Coast Salish actor & physician from the Tla’amin First Nation near Powell River, BC, Canada. Evan stars as Thomas Builds-The-Fire in Miramax’s SMOKE SIGNALS, written by Sherman Alexie & directed by Chris Eyre. He also won Best Actor awards from the American Indian Film Festival, & from First Americans in the Arts, & a 1999 Independent Spirit Award for ‘Best Debut Performance’. He won a 2011 Gemini Award for co-hosting the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards along with Adam Beach.
Aside from his career in the arts, Evan has completed a Medical Doctorate from the University of Calgary in 2002, & a residency in the Aboriginal Family Practice program at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver, BC. Dr. Adams has a Masters of Public Health (2009) from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. He was the first-ever Aboriginal Health Physician Advisor in the Office of the Provincial Health Officer, BC Ministry of Health (2007-2012). He was the Deputy Provincial Health Officer for the province of BC from 2012 to 2014. He is currently the Chief Medical Officer of the First Nations Health Authority.
Chris Beaton, Wanda Bolton Community Service Award
Chris has worked in community for the past twenty years, providing leadership in many aspects of both community and economic development.
His approach to any project is based on collaboration, communication, action and respect.
Born and raised in Ottawa, Chris has a lifelong interest in politics at all levels of government. He moved to British Columbia 20 years ago, is married with four sons.
Toni-Anne Willier, 2015 Academic Achievement