Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, O.B.C., O.C.
His insights into the destructive impacts these forces can have on peoples’ lives, families and cultures were shaped by his experience with the Canadian Indian Residential School system.
As one of the last few speakers of the Kwakwaka’wakw language, Chief Joseph is an eloquent and inspiring Ceremonial House Speaker. He shares his knowledge and wisdom in the Big House and as a Language Speaker with the University of British Columbia, an internationally recognized art curator and as co-author of “Down from the Shimmering Sky: Masks of the Northwest Coast”.
In 2003, Chief Joseph received an Honorary Doctorate of Law Degree from the University of British Columbia for his distinguished achievements in serving BC and Canada. In 2012, he was presented The Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. In 2014, he received the Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue from Simon Fraser University and an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Vancouver School of Theology for his work in reconciliation and renewing relationships between Indigenous peoples and all Canadians. That same year, the City of Vancouver awarded Chief Joseph with the 2014 Diversity and Inclusion Award of Excellence. In 2015, he was presented a Deputy Ministers’ Recognition Award for Collaboration and Partnerships and was appointed to the Order of British Columbia, the Province of British Columbia’s highest honour. He was also named as one of the “50 Most Powerful People in Vancouver (2015)” by Vancouver Magazine. In 2016, Chief Joseph received the Wallenberg-Sugihara Civil Courage Award and the Indspire Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2018, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Vancouver Island University. In the same year, Chief Joseph was named an officer of the Order of Canada for his dedication to the community and contributions to the country.
Chief Joseph is currently the Ambassador for Reconciliation Canada and a member of the National Assembly of First Nations Elders Council. He was formerly the Executive Director of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and is an honourary witness to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). As Chairman of the Native American Leadership Alliance for Peace and Reconciliation and Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation with the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IFWP), Chief Joseph has sat with the leaders of South Africa, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia and Washington, DC to learn from and share his understanding of faith, hope, healing and reconciliation.
“Let us find a way to belong to this time and place together. Our future, and the well-being of all our children rests with the kind of relationships we build today.” – Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, O.B.C.
Chief Joseph is an eloquent and inspiring speaker. Through speaking engagements, Chief Joseph shares his journey of reconciliation, including his childhood experience at St. Michael’s Residential School. He speaks about the important role of reconciliation in moving forward through trauma and will address the reconciliation work that is being done across Canada to build meaningful relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.
To inquire about Chief Joseph’s availability, click here.
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Community Outreach Coordinator