(Lheidli T’enneh Territory, Prince George, BC – August 18, 2020) – The BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) mourns along with the Nisga’a Nation as they announce the loss of their great leader, Dr. Joseph Gosnell. After a long struggle with cancer Dr. Gosnell passed away at his home in New Aiyansh at the age of 84. He served as president of the Nisga’a Nation and worked tirelessly toward the Nisga’a Treaty, which was signed in 1998, the first modern treaty negotiated between the BC and Canadian governments. He fought valiantly to lead the Nisga’a people away from the Canadian federal government’s Indian Act and helped to establish Nisga’a self-government. This pathway forged the implementation of the Nisga’a peoples’ inherent rights and title to their traditional territories and their ability to control their own economy and prosperity.
“British Columbia has lost a great and wise leader today. A man who championed reconciliation at a time when it was a daunting prospect. He broke down barriers and forged pathways that we now walk with much more ease then during his time. He was truly a political innovator deeply grounded in the language and customs of his ancestors and the Nisga’a people,” said Regional Chief Terry Teegee. “…may the creator guide you in your final journey.”
Dr. Joseph Gosnell holds the noble name Sim’oogit Hleek and is a recipient of the Order of British Columbia. Last year (2019) Dr. Joseph Gosnell was sworn in as the University of Northern British Columbia’s chancellor.