The former Chief of the Esk’etemc First Nation is one of 45 remarkable Canadians who will be presented with honours today by Governor General Julie Payette for their excellence, courage, or exceptional dedication to service.
Charlene Belleau says that her advocacy work is something that she has been doing for most of her life.
“Since I was little a girl and through school, and through the past 40 years or so of work. The advocacy I think is at all levels not just with residential school survivors. It was for murdered missing women, it was for various different causes, and I just always think that they need advocacy whether it’s through as individuals or as families or as communities in whatever situation they may find themselves. I’ve always grown up as advocate whether it’s for an individual or for people.”
Belleau will be receiving a Meritorious Service Decoration that celebrates Canadians who have performed an exceptional deed or activity that brings honour to Canada and is separated into military and civil divisions with two levels each: a cross and a medal.
“It’s a great feeling to be recognized for the work that I’ve done across the country and especially closer to home in BC and Esk’etemc,” says Belleau.
“I’ll always continue in some capacity whether it’s being chief or not chief. There’s certainly a lot of work out there that needs to be done. In one way or another it doesn’t matter where I end up , I’ll always be an advocate for children and families, and for women and different individuals.”
Today’s ceremony at Government House in Victoria will be streamed live online at www.gg.ca/live, starting at 2 p.m. PDT.