UBCIC Honours the Life of Chief Mel Bevan

News Release
October 12, 2023

UBCIC Honours the Life of Chief Mel Bevan

(xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil Waututh)/ Vancouver, B.C. – October 12, 2023) The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) expresses our most profound and heartfelt condolences to the Bevan family and the community of Kitselas on the passing of formerly elected and Hereditary Chief Melville (Mel) Bevan. He will be remembered as a knowledge-holder, a teacher, and a powerful advocate for his people as he dedicated his life fighting to advance recognition of Kitselas title and rights, and for the title and rights of all First Nations.

Chief Bevan was born on the Kitselas Indian Reserve in 1941 and was regarded as one of the last Hereditary Chiefs and native speaker of Sm'algya̱x. As the elected Chief Councilor, he would hold meetings in his kitchen in the early days where he would share his deep knowledge of First Nations culture, governance, and self-determination. He was also in attendance at the first British Columbia Chiefs Conference in Kamloops on November 18th, 1969, where the UBCIC was founded. Chief Bevan always spoke highly of the UBCIC and his work alongside Grand Chief Stewart Phillip. His strength, resilience, and advocacy will continue to live on in the many lives he touched, and we thank the Bevan family and Kitselas community for sharing Chief Mel Bevan and his powerful voice with us for these many years.

We are grateful we can continue to honour Chief Bevan’s memory through reading and sharing Silent Voices: Rule By Policy On Canada's Indian Reserves, his book that captured a lifetime of experience advocating for his people.


Media inquiries:

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, 250-490-5314
Chief Don Tom, Vice-President, 604-290-6083
Chief Marilyn Slett, Secretary-Treasurer, 250-957-7721

UBCIC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

For more information, please visit www.ubcic.bc.ca

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