A RCMP officer who has been posted throughout Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands was awarded for work in reconciliation on Monday.
Corporal Chistopher Voller was one of the recipients of the inaugural British Columbia Reconciliation Award, created in partnership between BC Achievement and The Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.
A 14-year veteran of the force, Voller is now in his fifth posting — this time as the detachment commander of the Quadra Island RCMP — following nine years on the North Island.
BC Achievement says that throughout his service, Voller has been confronting the RCMP’s need to address its history and build or rebuild trust with communities, particularly Indigenous ones.
“We existed as an enforcement agency when the Government created policies that forcefully removed children from their families in order to place them in schooling systems that saw them lose their sense of personal and cultural identity,” Voller said.
During his time around Port Hardy and Port McNeill, Voller oversaw an Indigenous unit serving the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw, Quatsino and Kwakiutl communities, according to the National Police Federation.
He has been credited with having a positive impact in these communities and was nominated for the reconciliation award by both Indigenous and police leaders.
Voller was also invited to dance at a potlatch held by the Nakwaxda’xw hereditary Chief. During the dance, the Chief and Voller exchanged pieces of Voller’s police uniform and regalia from the Chief.
“He’s one of several leaders with whom I’ve formed a connection that will last a lifetime,” Voller said.
The RCMP officer added that he hopes the award will draw attention to the need for education and wants to give hope to people who continue to feel the negative effects of colonization.
Voller was the only award recipient from Vancouver Island.
Other recipients included Grand Chief Stewart Phillip from Penticton, Dr. David Suzuki, Squamish Nation elder and leader Xele’milh-Doris Paul, and the Kelowna-based research team xaȼqanaǂ ʔitkiniǂ (Many Ways of Doing the Same Thing).