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Earth Day Worship with Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and Joan Phillip

We are thrilled to announce that Joan Phillip and her husband Grand Chief Stewart Phillip will be joining us for our annual Earth Day worship service – happening Sunday, April 23rd at 10:30am.

Together Joan and Stewart have spent their lives protecting land and culture, lifting up Indigenous rights, and defending Aboriginal Rights and Title. In 2014 the Grand Chief was arrested at Burnaby Mountain, resisting the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

Special Musical Guest: CBC Freedom Singer Khari Wendell McClelland.

Joan Phillip is a former elected member of the Penticton Indian Band Council. Joan has more than four decades of political experience advancing Indigenous rights from the 1970’s Native Alliance for Red Power period to the present day. In her role with the Penticton Indian Band Council and as its Lands Administrator for more than ten years, she helped manage reserve lands and resources as a Nation-building exercise, and in a manner that protects them for future generations’ use and enjoyment. Joan is of mixed heritage including Okanagan and Tsleil-Waututh, and has been married for 32 years to her husband Grand Chief Phillip. They have four grown sons, two daughters, seven granddaughters and seven grandsons.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip is President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. In October 2008, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip concluded his fourth consecutive term as Chief of the Penticton Indian Band (PIB) after having served the Band as Chief for a total of 14 years. In addition, he served as an elected Band Councilor for a 10 year period and 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 defense of Indigenous Peoples’ Title and Rights by bestowing on him and his family the rare honour of the title of Grand Chief.

Over 37 years, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip has 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. Aside from serving as a member of the PIB council for a total of 24 years, he is proud to be in his fifth three-year term as the President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

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.

Grand Chief Phillip has been married for 32 years to his wife Joan. They have four grown sons, two daughters, seven granddaughters and seven grandsons. He is currently enjoying his 29th year of sobriety. In this regard, he is a firm believer in leading by example.

“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 of 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.

About the Author
Christine Boyle is the Minister of Community Life at Canadian Memorial United Church.