As president of the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, Grace Nielsen has been a tireless advocate of self-determination for aboriginal peoples and communities across B.C.
A prominent member of the Chemainus First Nations, she is an outstanding example of what can be done when someone has a passion for life and a concern for future generations. She has lectured nationally and locally on issues of human rights, aboriginal history, spirituality, holistic health and aboriginal identity.
Her outstanding record of community development as executive director of Tillicum Haus Friendship Centre has put the Nanaimo community at the forefront of innovation in the delivery of aboriginal health and social services in Canada. She is responsible for many firsts in Nanaimo, including creation of the first aboriginal health clinic in B.C., development of the first aboriginal controlled family violence program, and establishment of the first adult basic education program in B.C. Aboriginal people from near and far have come to Tillicum Haus for education, healing and training and have found a place where they can tap into a wide variety of programs that meet their physical mental, emotional and spiritual needs.
In 1999, she was honoured by Malaspina University-College with an Honorary Doctor of Laws. Grace Nielsen is a visionary and courageous leader who promotes justice, fairness and equality.