Nuu-chah-nulth-aht Mourns the passing of Two Great First Nation leaders

The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council mourns the passing of Grand Chief Joe Norton of the Mohawks of Kanawake who passed away on August 7th, 2020 in his territory.

August 19th, 2020

Port Alberni, BC – The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council mourns the passing of Grand Chief Joe Norton of the Mohawks of Kanawake who passed away on August 7th, 2020 in his territory. We also mourn the great loss of Dr. Joseph Gosnell of the Nisga’a Nation who passed away in his own homelands on August 17th.

Both men, made many notable advances and achievements for their Nations. They made their mark on the provincial and federal political landscapes. Their names are well known across this country and among respected leaders.

“I have worked with Dr. Joe Gosnell on various issues and his intelligence and eloquence were a pleasure to work with,” commented NTC President Judith Sayers. “He took the time to work with Nuu-chah-nulth and share Nisga’a experiences in treaty making. He was that kind of man. One who shared his knowledge and experience with others. He is a legend.”

“Dr. Joe Gosnell was one of the first-First Nation people to speak to the BC Legislature in 1998 when the enactment of their treaty was tabled. His speech was historic and he stated that the treaty was for aboriginal and non-aboriginal people to come together and write a new chapter in BC history. His wise words will never be forgotten,” said Mariah Charleson, NTC Vice-President.

Across the country in Quebec, Grand Chief Joe Norton, a well-known thought leader, also joined the ancestors this week. “I worked with Joe Norton after approximately one third of the First Nations left the Assembly of First Nations over the Constitutional talks with Canada. Joe was part of the newly formed Coalition of First Nations and worked hard to obtain a Nation to Nation process,” added Sayers. “He was always a leader with vision, integrity and commitment.

The Nuu-chah-nulth join First Nations and their people across this country to take time to remember two mighty warriors who spent their lives fighting for our lands, resources and rights. They helped lay the foundation for self-government and self-determination and worked for their own people which benefited all of us. We will remember their legacy and build on the foundation they laid to continue to work for the people of the land.”

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