In the news: Nanaimo's 'Auntie Ellen' receives Order of B.C.

September 7, 2011 - 3:15am

By Mitch Wright - Nanaimo News Bulletin


As birthday presents go, the Order of B.C. isn’t too shabby.


Snuneymuxw First Nation elder Ellen White, who turns 89 on Tuesday (Sept. 13), was among 14 people named Friday as recipients the 2011 award, the province’s highest honour.


White, affectionately known by many in the community as ‘Auntie Ellen’ or Kwulasulwut (her Coast Salish name meaning ‘many stars’), said the honour comes as a surprise.


“To me it was shocking,” she said. “I did those things without realizing how important they were.”


White’s accomplishments include decades of helping guide and educate young First Nations people.


After 30 years as a lecturer and storyteller at UBC, White helped found the First Nations Studies program at Vancouver Island University (then Malaspina College) in 1994 and spent years as an Elder-in-Residence.


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