|Biography of Philip Paul|
November 29, 1933 - December 21, 1992
What you see in our Indian communities today is the end result of perpetuated injustices which have continued to deprive the Indian person the dignity of directing his own life. Despite the overwhelming odds, Indians have survived, and are preparing to build in those three areas vital to the spirit of the human person - mind, body and spirit. ---Philip Paul
The Union of BC Indian Chiefs was the product of the dreams of the people but the dreams alone were not enough to bring about its materialization. The dream and vision of a united people had to be given shape, direction and organization. The dream needed a body in which to grow. Philip Christopher Paul helped to create this body. He not only helped to create the Union of BC Indian Chiefs but he was instrumental in promoting the peoples movement. He was a pioneer in the fight for settlement of land claims, a strong believer in the value of education and a leader among his community and aboriginal people throughout the nation.
Philip Paul was born in 1933 and lived on the Tsartlip reserve in his early years. He attended the Kuper Island Residential School, the St. Louis College and North Saanich High School. In an address to the Nuxalk Nation given by Philip Paul in October 29, 1992 he described the impact which this system had on his life. He acknowledged that the residential school system attacked his language, spirituality and freedom of thought. He stated "It’s important to be a good follower if you want to be a good leader" and this is perhaps the best lesson we can learn from his example. Philip Paul realized that our own spirituality and culture hold the solutions to many of our problems. However, he also made it clear that we must work as a collective to bring about the change needed to make our societies healthy and strong. Perhaps this is the vision which he brought to the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
Philip worked in a munitions plant on James Island, then in retail sales and for the BC Forest Industry before he became involved in his Band government. He began as a Councilor and later Chief of the Tsartlip Band. He leant his vision to the larger political arena by helping to found the Southern Vancouver Island Federation, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the National Indian Brotherhood. Though these accomplishments were many, he continued a lifelong process of contributing to the well-being of aboriginal people.
Philip was a strong believer in the need for education - Indian education. He believed that we could succeed at anything if we had the strength of our culture behind us. In 1967 he became the Director of Native Studies at the Institute of Adult Studies (later Camosun College) and made a large contribution to the establishment of this program and the continued relations with First Nations people.
His work with the Union between 1971 and 1975 was as Director of Land Claims Research. He helped shape the Union as Executive Administrator from 1975 to 1977 and as Director of Education from 1977 - 1980. In his years with the Union, he helped to address the injustices faced by native people over time and helped prepare people - in mind, body and spirit, to work as a collective to bring about resolution of these problems.
In 1980, Philip served as Chairman and Administrator of the Saanich Indian School Board and continued his dedication towards education. He helped found the Tribal school and worked to give the children "the best of both worlds". The contributions which his strength and vision have made to the lives of aboriginal people of BC is evident all around us. Our cultures have survived. We know where we came from and thanks to the leadership of men like Philip Paul we have the power andknowledge necessary to shape our future.
UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.