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2023 Janusz Korczak Award presented to Mary Teegee

News Release – Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) Territory

The Indigenous Child & Family Services Directors Our Children Our Way Society raises its hands to the Chair of our organization, Mary Teegee, as the recipient of the prestigious 2023 Janusz Korczak Award. This distinguished honour recognizes Mary’s incredible efforts, contributions, and her unwavering commitment to fight for and uphold the rights and sacredness of Indigenous children and youth.

Holding the Hereditary Chief’s name Maaxswxw Gibuu, Mary is a member of the Luxgaboo Clan, and belongs to the Takla and Gitk’san Nations. She is a fierce champion for Indigenous children, youth, and families across Turtle Island dedicating her life to empowering Nations to assert their inherent rights, advocating for equitable resources and supports for children and families, and striving to ensure that every Indigenous child is wrapped in love, belonging and culture.

While serving as the Chair of the Our Children Our Way Society, Mary works as the Executive Director of Child & Family Services at Carrier Sekani Family Services in Prince George, British Columbia. Some of her responsibilities in this role include delegated services, early and middle years programming.

Giving tirelessly of herself, Mary walks in service alongside countless individuals and communities as well provincial and national tables in her fight to ensure the best possible outcomes for Indigenous children, youth and their families. She serves as the President of the BC Aboriginal Child Care Society, represents BC on the board of the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society, has acted as a Steering Committee member for the First Nations Early Childhood Development Council, has been a member of the Provincial Ministers Advisory Council on Aboriginal Women and is the BC Representative for the National Advisory Committee on Child and Family Service Reform.

Outside of this extraordinary work, Mary finds time to fulfill her passion for film. She was cast as “Mary the Bear” in Spirit Bear: Fishing for Knowledge (2023) and in Spirit Bear and Children Make History (2020) and Executive Producer for the Highway of Tears Film (2015). She is the Producer, Writer and Presenter for the film, For Love (2022).

Dr. Janusz Korczak was a humanitarian, an educator and a pediatrician. Although he was an advocate for children, he was more importantly their friend.  He is quoted as saying, “Children are not the people of tomorrow, but are people today. They have the right to be taken seriously and to be treated with tenderness and respect. They should be allowed to grow into whoever they are meant to be.

The Dr. Janusz Korczak Medal is an indication of Mary’s remarkable achievements and her dedication to upholding the principles of child rights and social justice. Her inspiring leadership and compassionate approach have touched the hearts and lives of Indigenous children, youth, families, communities and organizations across Turtle Island. This award is a well-deserved recognition of her exceptional contributions.

The Dr. Janusz Korczak Medal is bestowed upon those who have made outstanding contributions in promoting the rights of children in ways that encourage love. Carrying that legacy forward, Mary’s work holds children at the centre and is always for love.

We extend our congratulations to you, Mary, for this prestigious honor and we look forward to continuing to witness your ongoing efforts to create a more equitable and inclusive world for children.

Mary Teegee with the 2023 Janusz Korczak Award

Mary with BC AFN Regional Chief Terry Teegee (brother), Davina Velk (niece), BC Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin and BC Representative of Children & Youth Dr. Jennifer Charlesworth

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For further comment, please contact: Jennifer Chuckry, Executive Director, Our Children Our Way Society, [email protected]