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Joseph Arthur Gosnell

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Joseph Arthur Gosnell

Award Received

Honorary Degree

Convocation Ceremony

Spring 1998 Convocation

Dr. Joseph Arthur Gosnell, O.B.C., spent the better part of his life fighting a century old battle inherited from his great-great-grandfathers. A statesman, hereditary chief, and a hero to First Nations and non-First Nations alike, Dr. Gosnell was born in the Nass Valley in North Western British Columbia. For the past 64 years, he has been a carpenter, a gillnet fisher, a traditional carver, and, for the past two decades, chair of the Nisga’a Tribal Council. He is most famously known as the President of the Nisga’a Nation and Chief Negotiator for the Nisga’a people. As Chief Negotiator he led a land claim for the Nisga’a. On August 4, 1999 he signed the Nisga’a Treaty, the largest land claim treaty in Canadian history. It is considered a watershed in Aboriginal rights and continues to be among the most important precedents in Canadian legal history. He is the recipient of the Order of British Columbia and the Humanitarian Award from the Canadian Labour Congress. Gosnell has the keen intelligence of the eagle, the courage of the bear, and the loyalty of the wolf-he embodies the age-old qualities of his people.