KPU Chancellor receives 2022 B.C. Reconciliation Award

Fri, Jun 17, 2022

Kwantlen Polytechnic University Chancellor Kwuntiltunaat (Kim Baird) is being recognized for her work in creating better outcomes for Indigenous people and bridging the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Baird is among six individuals and organizations to receive a 2022 B.C. Reconciliation Award, presented by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of B.C., in partnership with B.C. Achievement Foundation.

An accomplished leader and respected advocate for Indigenous people, Baird is known nationally for her work in reconciliation.

“I’d like to think most of my work has been in that vein, so it’s just really satisfying to be recognized for any contribution towards it,” says Baird. “I’m really thrilled to be among the others that are receiving the award as well. I think it’s a great award to recognize people’s work in this area.”

Baird is a graduate of KPU, receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012, and has served as the university’s Chancellor since 2020. At age 28 Baird was elected Chief of the Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN), holding the position from 1999 to 2012. In that role Baird negotiated B.C.’s first urban modern treaty, providing unprecedented benefits and opportunities, and her leadership contributed to TFN being one of the most progressive First Nations in Canada. She now runs her own consulting firm and continues to share her expertise on many public and private boards.

“We’re at the very beginning still of reconciliation. My community found its path, but beyond that there’s just so much more work to do in that space in this province,” says Baird. “There’s lots of ways of doing it. I continue to work with companies and governments to explore ways to getting at those outcomes. I’d like to think that’s why I’ve been recognized.”

The B.C. Reconciliation 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.

KPU President Alan Davis says Baird is a remarkable person whose work intersects with what the university is trying to accomplish.

“We feel very proud for her,” he says. “This award is a wonderful honour for her.”

B.C. Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin chose reconciliation as a key priority of her mandate. This commitment includes participation in promotion of public awareness of the ongoing journey of reconciliation, and developing a legacy through the creation of this award.

“For the second year of the British Columbia Reconciliation Award, I have been heartened by the continued focus on advancing reconciliation in B.C.,” says Austin. “The 2022 recipients represent elders and youth, partnership and leadership. They showcase creative ways of educating young generations and new Canadians on the history and culture of Indigenous people, ensuring all are included on the journey of reconciliation.”