Saanich recipient of Order of B.C. shines a light on Aboriginal issues

Paul Lacerte says award recognizes collective effort of everyone supporting Friendship Centre movement

Paul Lacerte says he is honoured to have been named a recipient of the Order of British Columbia, but he can’t take all the credit for the work he does.

“I’m so blessed to come from a ceremonial family, and our culture really speaks to the fact that you move as a unit and that change doesn’t happen based on any one individual, it’s based on collective effort,” said Lacerte, executive director of the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres. “This recognition is really a recognition of the strength of the communal effort from my family, and the strength of the B.C. Association staff and of the Friendship Centre movement.”

The 43-year-old Saanich resident has helmed the BCAAFC for 19 years, and has helped it grow to a staff of 30, with more than 1,000 staff working at Aboriginal Friendship Centres in B.C.

“The mission of the organization is really in alignment with my own life. I was dislocated, like a lot of native people are, and looking for a place to call home. And the Friendship Centres as organizations are really that home away from home for native people.”

Lacerte is being recognized for working for more than 20 years as an advocate for improving the lives of Aboriginal people.

In 2011, he and his daughter began the Moose Hide Campaign, to shine a light on the issue of violence toward Aboriginal women and children. Supporters wear a 1-inch by 1-inch square of moose hide over their heart, which acts as a conversation starter.

“I wear it every day, and it causes me to have five to six conversations with strangers. It starts as them asking what it is, and it allows me to speak out to end violence toward Aboriginal women and children,” Lacerte said. “It’s not good enough to just not be an abuser. We need to find strategies to activate men. The conversation is a very important step in that regard.

“I’m blessed to play a leadership role to help to nurture all those conversations and change the way people think about native people in this country.”

Lacerte sees the Order of B.C. award as recognition that the work he and his colleagues do is making a difference. He hopes the award will shed even more light on the Friendship Centres and the issues they’re trying to address.

A ceremony will be held at Government House in November to honour the recipients.

editor@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A family of ducks that lives near Saanich Municipal Hall recently welcomed 11 ducklings and took them for a swim in the koi pond outside the offices. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Pair of ducks make Saanich Municipal Hall a nursery for 11 hatchlings

Family of ducks spent time in koi pond before heading down to Swan Lake

Habitat Acquisition Trust has received provincial funding to help restore Garry oak ecosystems on southern Vancouver Island. (Photo by Jeremy da Silva)
Central Saanich park among sites for local Garry oak restoration projects

Habitat Acquisition Trust received $140,000 in funding for 12 projects

Architect’s rendering of the 7 Erskine Lane development, showing the view from the east and south. (VDA Architecture Ltd. image)
View Royal green-lights residential development on Erskine Lane

First of two developments near Victoria General Hospital will provide 71 housing units

Andrew Swanson was arrested Wednesday after he was wanted for an alleged choking assault and for obstructing police. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police arrest Andrew Swanson on warrants for alleged choking assault, obstruction

A member of the public spotted Swanson and called 911 before police came and made the arrest

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

More than 6,000 camping reservations in British Columbia were cancelled as a result of a provincial order limiting travel between health regions. (Unsplash)
1 in 4 camping reservations cancelled in B.C. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

More than 6,500 BC Parks campsite reservations for between April 19 and May 25 have been revoked

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you plan to travel on the Victoria Day long weekend?

It’s the unofficial start to the summer season. A time of barbecues,… Continue reading

A worker rides a bike at a B.C. Hydro substation in Vancouver, on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Hydro report raises safety concerns as pandemic prompts jump in yard work

Incidents involving weekend tree trimmers, gardeners and landscapers have risen 30% since the pandemic hit

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Most Read