(Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Territory/Kamloops, B.C. – October 3rd, 2018) The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) is celebrating its 50th Annual General Assembly (AGA) this week, a gathering of over 100 Chiefs, proxies, and policy experts to discuss significant political and social issues that impact BC First Nations.
The event is being held from October 2nd through 4th at Moccasin Square Gardens in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Territory. The theme of this year’s AGA is “50 Years of Exercising Our Title and Rights.”
“49 years ago, after a three-day meeting here in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, 175 Chiefs unanimously voted to create the UBCIC in order to defend our Aboriginal Title and Rights from Pierre Trudeau’s infamous White Paper,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the UBCIC. “What resulted is nearly 50 years of unwavering advocacy for Indigenous peoples across multiple sectors, including land claims research, violence against Indigenous women and girls, destructive resource extraction practices and projects, and the adoption and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
Agenda items include discussions of Canada’s proposed Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework, UBCIC’s submission to the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and protections for wild salmon. In addition, Grand Chief Phillip will be honoured for his 20th year as President of the organization.
“The AGA is the centrepiece of UBCIC operations, a space where we can all gather and work on issues integral to our livelihood and identity as Indigenous peoples,” said Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President of the UBCIC. “It’s a space where Indigenous voices are uplifted, celebrated, and given room to speak from our hearts and traditions. We discuss issues that are painful and exasperating, but our sense of community and strong determination turns our frustrations into tangible action at these meetings.”
UBCIC will host three special events in conjunction with the 50th AGA: a group photograph, an Indigenous Women in Leadership Dinner, and a banquet accompanied by a test screening of the upcoming UBCIC documentary Unceded Chiefs, directed by filmmaker Doreen Manuel. The founding members and homemakers will be honoured at this banquet, along with those who participated in the 1980-1981 Constitution Express movement.
“The 50th AGA marks a historic milestone for UBCIC. Despite major opposition, discrimination, and colonially-imposed barriers, we have survived and thrived as a leading Indigenous political organization.” said Chief Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer of the UBCIC. “The late Grand Chief George Manuel, in conversation with Louise Mandell, stated that our rights need to be constitutionalized and also recognized. We will continue to fight tirelessly for the health and wellness of our peoples and communities and the further protection of our inherent Title and Rights – for fifty more years and beyond.”
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, Union of BC Indian Chiefs: (250-490-5314)
Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President, Union of BC Indian Chiefs: (250-974-8282
Chief Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer, Union of BC Indian Chiefs: (250-320-7738)