APRIL 9, 1941

GITXTAN LEADER NEIL J. STERRITT BORN–ORDER OF BRITISH COLUMBIA MEMBER

Born in Hazelton, British Columbia, Sterritt worked in mining exploration in Canada and internationally, but returned to Hazelton in the 1970s to manage the ‘Ksan Historic Village and Museum.  As president of the Gitxsan-Wet’suwet’en Tribal Council (1981-87) and director of land claims & self-government with the Assembly of First Nations in Ottawa (1988-91), he played a key role in developing the 1997 landmark Indigenous title Supreme Court of Canada case Delgamuukw v. B.C.  His book, Mapping My Way Home: A Gitxsan History, chronicled Gitxsan history from the time of contact with packers, explorers, miners and surveyors.  The book also includes his own journey into international mining and back to fight for his people.  In 2017, the book was awarded the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize.  Sterritt was inducted into the Order of British Columbia (2017) and awarded the Queen’s Jubilee medal along with honorary doctorates from the Universities of Toronto and Victoria.  He died on his 79th birthday.

Source:  Thom Barker, “Gitxsan leader Neil J. Sterritt dies at 79,” Terrace Standard, 4/13/2020.  Retrieved 6/30/2020, https://www.terracestandard.com/news/gitxsan-leader-neil-j-sterritt-dies-at-79/
Photo:  Simon Fraser University—University Communications, 9/6/2012. The Right Honourable Kim Campbell [cropped].  Permissive Use. 

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