Arthur Manuel speaks at a conference with Naomi Klein

Renowned First Nations activist Arthur Manuel passes away

Secwepemc chief, First Nations leader and activist Arthur Manuel has died at 66

  • Jan. 25, 2017 8:00 p.m.

Secwepemc chief, First Nations leader and activist Arthur Manuel has died at 66, after a lifetime of standing up for indigenous rights in B.C., Canada and around the world.

The author of “Unsettling Canada: a National Wake Up Call,” Manuel visited Bella Coola in 2015 for film screening of Naomi Klein’s latest documentary, “This Changes Everything.” Klein, who wrote the forward of Manuel’s book, called him a “beautiful soul and an intellectual giant.”

“He helped generations of organizers and theorists to understand how Indigenous land rights, if truly respected, hold tremendous power to create a more caring and generous society,” and Klein, “and they are our only hope of protecting the planet from ecocide.”

Manuel was gifted a button blanket by the Nuxalk Nation and created many friendships wherever he went.

He was the son of the late George Manuel, who founded the National Indian Brotherhood — precursor to the Assembly of First Nations.  Arthur Manuel entered the world of Indigenous politics in the 1970s, as president of the Native Youth Association.

He went on to serve as chief of the Neskonlith Indian Band near Chase, B.C., and elected chair of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council but was also active in the Assembly of First Nations. Recently, he was a spokesman for Defenders of the Land, an organization dedicated to environmental justice.

His death brought an outpouring of tributes, including one from B.C. Premier Christy Clark, who in a statement called Mr. Manuel a “steadfast, courageous champion for Indigenous people across Canada.”

For decades, Mr. Manuel pushed governments and international bodies such as the United Nations to pay more attention to indigenous concerns when it came to trade agreements or events such as the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.

“Arthur Manuel represented a very powerful force and presence in regard to our ongoing struggle to seek a full measure of justice in relation to indigenous land rights and human rights,” said Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

“He was a champion of our rights to self-determination – and rejected any notion that we should be required to extinguish or diminish or modify our rights in an effort to seek any measure of recognition from the government of Canada or the province of B.C.,” he added.

“He never took a step backwards.”

Just Posted

Danika Naccarella to receive BC Creative Achievement Award

For the past few years Danika Naccarella’s career has been enjoying a steady upward trajectory

New multi-use trail taking shape in Hagensborg

Recreation Sites and Trails BC (RSTBC) is funding a new section of trail in Hagensborg

BC Ferries restricts passengers from lower vehicle decks

The new regulations will no longer allow passengers to remain in their vehicles on closed car decks.

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Dorsett has 2 goals, assist in Canucks’ 4-2 win over Sabres

‘It was a real good hockey game by our group,’ Canucks coach Travis Green said.

Berry disappointed: Bear tries to eat fake fruit on woman’s door wreath

A Winnipeg woman has taken her berry-embellished wreath down, after a hungry bear visited her porch

Man in custody linked police search near Salmon Arm

Police have not connected arrest to search at Salmon River Road property

B.C. search groups mobilize for missing mushroom picker

Searchers from across the province look for Frances Brown who has been missing since Oct. 14.

Most Read