Raw courage and conviction are dominant personal characteristics of British Columbia Chief Treaty Commissioner, Miles Richardson. Born in Haida Gwaii in 1955, Mr. Richardson attended the University of Victoria and earned a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Economics in 1979. He became politically active at university and returned to his home community after graduation.
In 1984, Mr. Richardson was elected President of the Haida Nation and served for 12 years. When loggers threatened to destroy the old-growth forest on Gwaii Hanaas, also known as South Moresby Island, Mr. Richardson and the Haida people marshaled environmentalists to protect their land. Against the odds and with personal risk, he led the Haida and the environmentalists in successfully convincing the federal government to designate Gwaii Hanaas as Canada’s first national park reserve and a Haida heritage site and to name the Haida people co-managers of the park.
In 1996, Mr. Richardson was appointed British Columbia Treaty Commissioner. He continues to serve as a bridge between Aboriginal people and governments to assist in bringing the land question in British Columbia to resolution.
I think we need to evolve. I think Haidas need to re-seize control of it and move it forward in our vision, in terms of how we see our future in our own lives. This Indigenous Guardians Network will be a key, constructive, building piece for that new relationship if we are serious about reconciliation. And all reconciliation means to me is that we accept each of us for who we are.