Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaʔɬ/sel̓ílwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh)/ VANCOUVER – Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark Hli Haykwhl Ẃii Xsgaak has issued the following statement on the passing of Nisga’a hereditary Chief Sim'oogit Hleekwas Joseph Gosnell, Sr.:
“Today we mourn the loss of a formidable leader.
“Dr. Gosnell dedicated his life to advancing the rights, title and self-determination on behalf of the citizens of the Nisga’a Nation.
“Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Gosnell was instrumental in negotiating the landmark Nisga’a Final Agreement in 1998 – the first modern treaty between a First Nation, British Columbia and Canada. Through his leadership an entire generation of Nisga’a citizens have benefited from his relentless advocacy.
“Dr. Gosnell received many honours and awards during his illustrious career including the Order of British Columbia, the Order of Canada, and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal.
“Dr. Gosnell attended St. Michael’s Residential School in Alert Bay, the same school my late grandmother, Thelma Mark, attended. Dr. Gosnell believed strongly in the power of education. In his own words, “The best thing I can do is encourage young men, women, no matter who they are, to take advantage of education.”
“Dr. Gosnell was always ready to serve the community. I was thrilled when he was named chancellor of the University of Northern British Columbia in 2019.
“My heartfelt condolences to Dr. Gosnell’s wife, Audrey Adele, their seven children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“Today, we have lost a briefcase warrior.”