Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
On September 14, 2022, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Sylix Nation, was re-elected by acclamation to his ninth consecutive three-year term as President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), a position he has served for the past 26 years.
Prior to his tenure as President of UBCIC, he served his community as Chief of the Penticton Indian Band (PIB) for 16 years, in addition to previously serving as an elected Band Councillor for a 10-year period. He has also worked within PIB Administration in various capacities such as Band Administrator, Education Counselor, Director of Land Management and more. Aside from his 26-year tenure as an elected leader of PIB, he also served as Chair of the Okanagan Nation Alliance for 16 years.
In October 2006, the Okanagan Nation, led by the Elders of the Penticton Indian Band, bestowed on him and his family the rare title of Grand Chief in acknowledgement of his lifetime commitment to advancing Okanagan Title and Rights and the Title and Rights of all First Nations.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip's activism to First Nations Title and Rights across Turtle Island has been acknowledged through various awards and honors, including the BC Reconciliation Award in 2021 and the Eugene Rogers Environmental Award in 2017 (awarded jointly with Joan Phillip) for his decades-long commitment to protecting the lands, waters, and environment. Additionally, in November 2018, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, from the University of British Columbia for his lifelong advocacy. His work has extended to shaping and advancing landmark legislation and policies, such as advancing the Tsawwassen Accord to unite BC First Nations leadership, the passing of the Bill 41 into the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and his involvement in founding the Indigenous Youth Internship Program (IYIP) in partnership with the BC government.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip has been married for 46 years to his wife Joan Phillip, who is currently serving as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of BC for the riding of Vancouver-Mount Pleasant. They have three sons (one deceased), two daughters, six granddaughters and nine grandsons. He has been enjoying sobriety for 37 years while splitting his time between Penticton and East Vancouver.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip has long since committed to strengthening and protecting the interests, title and rights of First Nations people and communities in need and addressing the climate emergency. He has taken a lifelong role in working tirelessly to ensure that the actions of all levels of government are directed by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls 2S+ Calls for Justice, including advocating for crucial movements and campaigns that advance First Nations title and rights. His immense wisdom, patience, empathy, and leadership continues to be a source of inspiration and hope for those fighting for their voices to be heard.
“I hereby commit to work collectively with the Chiefs of the UBCIC, the First Nations Summit and the BC Assembly of First Nations. We must work together to ensure the governments of Canada and British Columbia endorse and implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples for our Nations and communities. We must work together to compel government to update the Comprehensive Claims Policy to reflect the many hard-fought court victories such as the Delgamuuk’w, Haida and William cases” -- Grand Chief Stewart Phillip.
Chief Don Tom
Chief Don Tom was born and raised in the WSANEC territory on the Tsartlip First Nation located on the Saanich Peninsula. Chief Tom is Coast Salish of the WSANEC and Stzmenus people, and NUU-CHAN-NULTH of the Ahousaht.
He found his passion for advocacy at the age of 16, where he co-authored the BC Children’s Commission, Youth Report, a report that looked at Youth-Services and Youth in care.
In 2007 he joined the Public Service sector as the inaugural BC Indigenous Youth Internship; where he served with the Ministry of Children and Family Development, on the Transformation Task Team.
Serving his 3rd consecutive term as Chief of the Tsartlip First Nation, as Chief he has successfully defended desecration of Grace Islet, and the proposed LNG Floating Facility.
Chief Tom is the Vice-President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and a member of the First Nations Leadership Council. His political files include Emergency Management, Cannabis, Hunting and Wildlife. His highlights include witnessing the introduction and passing of B.C. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
Chief Marilyn Slett
K̓áwáziɫ Marilyn Slett is a citizen of the Heiltsuk Nation and the elected Chief Councillor of the Heiltsuk Tribal Council. She is currently serving her fourth consecutive term as Chief Councillor, beginning in 2008.
She is the President of the Coastal First Nations/Great Bear Initiative and is a member of the Vancouver Coastal Health Board of Directors. She previously held the position of the BC Assembly of First Nations Women’s Representative on the National Assembly of First Nations Women’s Council and Co-Chair of the Wild Salmon Advisory Council and former Board of Director for the BC Assembly of First Nations.
During her time as Chief Councillor, Marilyn has guided the Nation on many major endeavours focused on protecting Heiltsuk title and rights and British Columbia’s marine health. Marilyn views Heiltsuk title and rights and way of life as intrinsically connected to a protected and healthy coastal environment.