Former Terrace city councillor and Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art student Jessica McCallum-Miller has been awarded the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation, according to a post on her Facebook page.
“I feel so honoured that I am receiving such a meaningful award,” McCallum-Miller said in the April 17 Facebook post.
“Being an advocate and working towards inclusivity and reconciliation is something I have been very passionate about and although my resignation as an elected official was very difficult for me, I still have hope that more diverse and progressive voices will change this world.”
The award was first established in 1979 to recognize community service and academic excellence in programs less than two years long. In 2019 its eligibility was expanded to include students in diploma and degree programs, awarded to students who have promoted inclusion and diversity on and off campus, strengthened democracy through civic engagement or furthered reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
McCallum-Miller is a 2021 graduate of Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art’s diploma program at Coast Mountain College, and will receive the medal during her convocation ceremony this summer. She was nominated for the award by Jillian Stevens, First Nations access co-ordinator for Coast Mountain College.
McCallum-Miller was the youngest and first Indigenous councillor in Terrace’s history. She was first elected to council in 2018 with 883 votes after serving for four years as Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine director for rural Terrace, south coast. She first ran for council in 2014 at the age of 21.
She resigned from her council seat on Feb. 22, alleging systemic racism and questioning whether truth and reconciliation was a priority for council.