Reverend Lily Bell wins Lions’ Lifetime Achievement Award

She loves dancing, singing and the colour yellow.

She is a Raven, and a matriarch of the Kyaan usilii clan.

She started the Care and Share lunch over 20 years ago, donating her own food and cooking all that time.

She has blessed the boats, the return of salmon to the Yakoun, and the opening of Chief Matthews School.

Those were just a few of the clues hinting at the mystery winner of a special Lifetime Achievement Award from the Masset Haida Lions on Sunday: Reverend Lily Bell.

“She is a rock for the people of Haida Gwaii and is there for everyone in their time of need,” said Lion Josh Smith before presenting Rev. Bell with a raven/cross argillite carving commissioned from Miles Edgars.

The Masset Haida Lions normally recognize a Citizen of the Year every Harbour Day, but they quickly realized that Bell’s community-boosting resumé was so long it deserved something special.

Whether teaching Sunday school and ECE classes, becoming a foster parent or supporting Restorative Justice programs, Bell has long been a super volunteer.

She is also a cancer survivor. In a letter, her daughter Ivy said as long as she can remember, her mother has always been busy helping others.

“Our mom did so much that when she was struck with breast cancer, I prayed that it would slow her down,” she joked.

It didn’t happen.

The carving the Masset Haida Lions commissioned has an inscription at the base that says Xaaynang Jing Gin’laa Gii Isdaa / A long life of giving back.

When Rev. Bell was presented the award at the Masset Legion on Sunday, her response was true to form — she danced back down the aisle, raised her arms and sang haw’aa to everyone in the room.

“I can’t describe it, it’s beautiful,” she said.


(Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

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