Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
In October 2008, Stewart concluded his fourth consecutive four year term as Chief of the Penticton Indian Band (PIB). Grand Chief Stewart Phillip has served the Band as Chief for a total of 14 years. In addition, he served as an elected Band Councillor for a 10-year period.
In October 2006, the Okanagan Nation, led by the Elders of the Penticton Indian Band, acknowledged his lifetime commitment to the defence of Indigenous Peoples’ Title and Rights by bestowing on him and his family the rare honour of the title of Grand Chief.
Aside from serving as a member of the PIB council for a total of 24 years, Stewart serves as the Chair of the Okanagan Nation Alliance. He is also proud to be entering his fifth three-year term as the President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
Grand Chief Phillip has taken an active role in the defence of Aboriginal Title and Rights by readily offering support to Native communities in need. He has taken a personal approach seeing first-hand the impact of fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago, lobbying on Parliament Hill to defeat the First Nations Governance Act, standing with Elders of Treaty 8 against oil and gas development in the Peace River, burning referendum ballots with fellow chiefs in protest, and has stood on the steps of the Legislature with 3000 people united under the Title and Rights Alliance banner. More recently he walked to the BC Legislature as part of the Get Out Migration, and participating in a fast to bring attention to the destructive impacts of fish farms. More recently Stewart has provided his ongoing support for the Haida, Coastal First Nations, the Carrier-Sekani Peoples, and other Traditional Northern Leaders in their courageous opposition to the Enbridge pipeline proposal.
Throughout the years Stewart has stood with the people, demanding action, and working to achieve justice. Grand Chief Phillip has been actively involved in a coalition of Indigenous Leaders and communities to successfully defeat the Kemess North mining proposal that would have destroyed Amazay Lake by using it as a tailings pond. Stewart actively supported the Tsilhqot’in and Northern Shuswap in their successful defeat of Taseko’s proposed Prosperity Gold-Copper Mine project. He has stood alongside the people during protests and the recent federal environmental assessment, and provided two submissions in opposition to the mine. He was there with Elders, women and leaders of Lytton First Nation during the full blockade of the Trans-Canada Highway, which led to restored essential ferry service to part of their community located on the west side of Fraser River.
Stewart and Joan have been married for twenty-five years. They have four sons, two daughters, four granddaughters and five grandsons. Stewart is currently enjoying his 22nd year of sobriety. In this regard, he is a firm believer in leading by example.