Chief Robert Joseph speaks at University of the Fraser Valley on Wednesday, Oct. 25.

Chief Robert Joseph speaks at University of the Fraser Valley on Wednesday, Oct. 25.

Residential school survivor to speak Wednesday about reconciliation

Chief Robert Joseph to speak at UFV in Abbotsford on Oct. 25

A hereditary chief and residential school survivor who serves as ambassador for Reconciliation Canada will share his story at the University of the Fraser Valley on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 6 p.m.

Chief Robert Joseph will speak as part of the President’s Leadership Lecture Series at UFV, which this fall is aligned with the Witness Blanket exhibit currently on display, and examines the residential school experience.

His talk will take place in the student union building on the Abbotsford campus. Admission is free and the public is welcome.

Joseph is a peace-builder whose life and work are examples of his personal commitment. A hereditary chief of the Gwawaenuk First Nation, he has dedicated his life to bridging the differences brought about by intolerance, lack of understanding, and racism at home and abroad.

His insights into the destructive impacts these forces can have on people’s lives, families, and cultures were shaped by his experience with the Canadian Indian residential school system.

Joseph is one of the last few speakers of the Kwakwaka’wakw language, a language speaker with the University of British Columbia, an internationally recognized art curator, and co-author of Down from the Shimmering Sky: Masks of the Northwest Coast.

He is currently the Ambassador for Reconciliation Canada and a member of the National Assembly of First Nations Elders Council.

Joseph is the recipient of several honours, including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Jack P. Blaney award for Dialogue from Simon Fraser University, a Deputy Ministers’ Recognition Award, the Order of B.C., the Wallenberg-Sugihara Civil Courage Award and the Indspire Lifetime Achievement Award.