“Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the responsibilities of individuals to their communities.” – Article 35, UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The UBCIC strengthens Indigenous Nations to assert and implement their Aboriginal Title, Rights, Treaty Rights and Right of Self-Determination as Peoples. The UBCIC works collectively with Indigenous Nations in B.C. to act as an advocacy body to provide a cohesive voice (regionally, nationally and internationally) in support of Indigenous Nations and communities, and to promote and protect each Nation’s exercise of Sovereignty within their traditional territories. It is a guiding principle of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (“UBCIC”) that Aboriginal Title and Rights are inherent – a gift and responsibility given by the Creator to the Peoples, together with the laws to carry out these responsibilities. The UBCIC’s mandate is to work towards the implementation, exercise and recognition of inherent Title, Rights and Treaty Rights and to protect of Lands and Waters, through the exercise, and implementation of our own laws and jurisdiction.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip is serving his eighth three-year term as the President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. Over 38 years, the Grand Chief worked within the Penticton Indian Band Administration holding a variety of positions such as Band Administrator, Director of Land Management, Education Counselor, Economic Development Officer and Band Planner. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip served the Penticton Indian Band as Chief for a total of 14 years. In addition, he served as an elected Band Councilor for a 10-year period. He continues to serve as the Chair of the Okanagan Nation Alliance.
In October 2006, the Okanagan Nation, led by the Elders of the Penticton Indian Band, acknowledged his lifetime commitment to the defence of Indigenous Peoples’ Title and Rights by bestowing on him and his family the rare honour of the title of Grand Chief.
He has taken an active role in the defence of Aboriginal Title and Rights by readily offering support to Native communities in need. He has taken a personal approach seeing first-hand the impact of fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago, lobbying on Parliament Hill to defeat the First Nations Governance Act, standing with Elders of Treaty 8 against oil and gas development in the Peace River, burning referendum ballots with fellow chiefs in protest and has stood on the steps of the Legislature with 3000 other people united under the Title and Rights Alliance banner. In November 2018, Grand Chief Phillip was awarded a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, from the University of British Columbia for his life-long advocacy and work.
Grand Chief Phillip has been married for 34 years to his wife Joan. They have three grown sons, two daughters, six granddaughters and nine grandsons. He is currently enjoying his 32nd year of sobriety. In this regard, he is a firm believer in leading by example.
Advocate for the federal government to respect Indigenous rights and ensure every community has the resources they need.