(Secwe̓pemc Territory/Kamloops, BC – January 12, 2016) The British Columbia Assembly of First Nations would like to express our profound sorrow and heartfelt condolences over the sudden loss of Arthur Manuel.
The son of Marceline Paul of the Ktunaxa Nation and political leader George Manuel of the Secwe̓pemc Nation, he grew up on the Neskonlith Reserve in the Thompson-Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. Like his father, who founded the National Indian Brotherhood (later the Assembly of First Nations), Arthur dedicated his life to justice for Indigenous peoples, serving as Chief of the Neskonlith Indian Band and Chair of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council. Arthur was deeply passionate and worked tirelessly in the fight for recognition of Aboriginal Rights and Title which included his valuable contributions at the national Chiefs Committee on Claims. He was instrumental in protecting and defending Secwe̓pemc Title and Rights, and his activism reverberated across Indian Country. Arthur Manuel was also a key leader in the fight for Indigenous peoples’ economic rights, and was outspoken about the need for fundamental policy change that would permit access to local, provincial, national and international commerce.
During this time of mourning, we offer our condolences, thoughts, prayers and strength to his family, his children and his grandchildren. Arthur will be remembered as one of Canada’s foremost Indigenous leaders and trailblazers. His legacy reminds us of the work we must continue to do, the issues we must continue to advance, and our values that we can never take for granted. First Nations communities will forever draw inspiration from Arthur’s lifelong and selfless dedication and efforts to promote a culture of justice and reconciliation.
Media inquiries, please contact:
Chief Maureen Chapman
BC Assembly of First Nations