By Carol Sheehan
Once again, manager Ramona Johnson and her staff at the K’ómoks First Nations I-Hos Gallery are celebrating recognition for business excellence.
At the fifth annual B.C. Aboriginal Business Awards, announced by Premier Christy Clark and Keith Mitchell, chair of the BC Achievement Foundation, the gallery was honoured for outstanding business achievement in the Community-Owned Business category.
Honorees were celebrated at a Dec. 5 gala in Vancouver.
Investing in and supporting the arts and culture of the First Nations, especially those of the K’ómoks First Nation, is the mission of I-Hos Gallery. It has been a Vancouver Island destination since its doors opened in 1995. I-Hos, staffed by KFN band members, showcases aboriginal culture such as masks, jewelry, prints, carvings, clothing and books. The gallery is an integral part of the community and hosts many cultural events such as National Aboriginal Day.
In accepting the award before an audience of 550, Johnson acknowledged the vision of K’ómoks elders in establishing the public face of the K’ómoks Nation through the gallery.
“They knew 18 years ago that a gallery would be an opportunity to establish community awareness and inter-cultural understanding in a setting that featured First Nations art and events. This year we celebrate their vision with ever-increasing success as the gallery moves into the digital age, increasing our market share and our visibility. It has been a wonderful journey and I’m proud to have been there as the manager since the gallery’s inception. We’ve come a long way—and we have an amazing bright future ahead.”