BCAFN Regional Chief Expresses Sorrow and Condolences over Passing of Senator Len Marchand

(Secwe̓pemc Territory/Kamloops, BC – June 03,2016) Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson and the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations would like to express our profound sorrow and heartfelt condolences on today’s loss of Senator Len Marchand, at age 82.

During this time of mourning, our thoughts and prayers are with the late Senator’s family, his wife Donna Parr, daughter Lori Marchand, son Len Marchand Jr., and his extended family. We wish to pay tribute to this great man who has achieved, in his lifetime, enormous accomplishments, including being one of the first Aboriginal students to enrol at the University of British Columbia, the first First Nations man elected to Parliament (for Kamloops-Cariboo), and the first appointed to serve as Cabinet Minister. Appointed to the Canadian Senate in 1984, Senator Marchand’s contributions to advancing Aboriginal issues at the local, provincial, and federal levels cannot be understated: today we lost an outstanding advocate and an inspiration to Aboriginal peoples across Canada.

Mr. Marchand will always be remembered as one of Canada’s greatest trailblazers, who has earned his place in history as a champion of democracy, Aboriginal rights, and reconciliation. In the face of great adversity, he persevered and was steadfast in championing the values that bind us in our common humanity. Mr. Marchand’s achievements are testimony to how one man, through sheer courage and tenacity, can rise up to the challenge and make a difference in the lives of Aboriginal peoples and countless others across the country.

His charisma, exceptional kindness, and compassion left an indelible impression on all who were fortunate to meet him. Mr. Marchand’s 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 Mr. Marchand’s lifelong and selfless dedication and efforts to promote a culture of peace, justice and reconciliation.