Grand Chief Stewart Phillip recognized with honorary degree

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip was awarded an honorary degree from the University of British Columbia

After decades of fighting for Indigenous rights, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip was awarded an honorary degree from the University of British Columbia’s Chan Centre on Nov. 28.

Phillip has served as president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs since 1998. He also served as chief of the Penticton Indian Band from 1994 to 2008 and continues to serve as chairman of the Okanagan Nation Alliance.

Related: Chiefs join anti-pipeline protests in Burnaby

Chief Chad Eneas of the Penticton Indian Band Chief congratulated Phillip in a press release from the ONA.

“When Grand Chief Stewart Phillip began working for our communities and fighting for Indigenous rights, he was not welcome at the table, but he was undeterred. He isa man of conviction, a diplomat, and steadfastly committed to the rights of Indigenous people everywhere. We are proud to call him our own!”

Pauline Terbasket, longtime executive director for the ONA called Phillip a “visionary.”

Related: Grand Chief Stewart Phillip ranks on 50 most powerful list

“Grand Chief Stewart Phillip is a visionary, a man of integrity and I’m proud to call him a mentor. He is a role model for all our young people. The Syilx people join together in celebration of this man who has fought tenaciously for Indigenous title and rights.”

A press release from the ONA expressed gratitude for all his hard work.

“It is our tradition to celebrate the achievements of our people, but today we also pause to honour him for his perseverance and commitment. He has fought many battles, and today we are in a new era, where our Title and Rights are finally being recognized. There is a genuine desire for reconciliation on all sides, and we, the Syilx Okanagan Nation, are the beneficiaries of these tireless efforts to improve the lives of all Indigenous people within our Nation, our province, in this county and internationally.”

Related: Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and wife Joan are 2017 Eugene Rogers Environmental Award recipients

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