Reconciliation champion among 13 B.C. Order of Canada appointees

Judith Sayers says economic development can go ahead while respecting First Nations land rights and ways of life but those nations need to be involved in decision making.

Judith Sayers advises Indigenous communities and corporations on clean energy projects

Judith Sayers is a member and former chief of the Hupacasath First Nation, and current president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. (Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council)

A champion for sustainable development in Indigenous communities is one of 13 British Columbians who will be appointed to the Order of Canada in 2018.

Judith Sayers is a member and former chief of the Hupacasath First Nation and current president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council.

She also acts as a strategic advisor between communities and corporations on clean energy projects and will receive one of the country's top civilian honours for her work in that field.

"It makes me feel good that I've been contributing to things that are important within Canada," she told On The Coast guest host Jason D'Souza. "Promoting the First Nations' agenda, working within the framework of Canada and at the same time maintaining our Indigenous values and knowledge and laws."

Sayers says economic development can proceed while respecting First Nations land rights and ways of life, but those First Nations need to be involved in decision making.

"The First Nations have to say yes before a project can go ahead," she said.

She says going forward, she wants both provincial and federal governments to fully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 calls to action.

Listen to the full interview:

Judith Sayers says economic development can go ahead while respecting First Nations land rights and ways of life but those Nations need to be involved in decision making. 7:39

12 other appointments

Here are the other 12 British Columbians who will be honoured in 2018 by the Governor General:

  • Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, architecture and landscape design
  • Michael Anthony Church, geomorphologist specializing in rivers
  • Robert Joseph, leader in reconciliation
  • Kenneth Lum, contemporary artist
  • Anne Martin-Matthews, gerontologist who implemented the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging
  • Janet F. Werker, researcher of infant speech perception and language acquisition
  • Oliver Gannon, jazz musician
  • Martin Gleave, oncologist specializing in prostate cancer research
  • Richard Henriquez, architect
  • Robert Hogg: HIV/AIDS researcher
  • Judy Illes, neurologist
  • Gregory Smallenberg, landscape architect.

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast