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Join us this summer to celebrate the launch of Bill's book and the spirit of resistance in one of the most powerful forces of this age: Indigenous Sovereignty. Bill's life work as a sovereigntist has focused on uniting all Indigenous people: the Non-Status Indian, the urban Aboriginal, the displaced and dispossessed Indigenous person who cannot even move home because of the machinations of the world's largest colonial regime still in power.
Bill's life began in the year that Canada amended the Indian Act to criminalize gatherings of Indigenous people to discuss the land question, and made it illegal for lawyers to accept funds for the purpose of litigating Indigenous land questions. That was 1927, and he was born in his mother's Kutenai homeland - in Golden.
Having avoided Indian Residential School, he did not become meaningfully aware of how he was connected to this problem of Canada until he was 18 years old, when he was jailed for walking out of an alley at night - or, more accurately, he was imprisoned for being a young native man.
In Oakalla prison, Bill met many more young native men who had been made outlaws, and it was here that his life changed forever. Over the following 72 years Bill has fought with all the weapons of resistance he possessed, starting with breaking out of Oakalla; continuing through a 30 year leadership with the BC Association of Non-Status Indians / United Native Nations; helping found BC Native Housing; participating in the Constitutional talks of the 1980s to entrench constitutional Aboriginal rights; responding to UN rapporteurs on the situation of Indigenous Peoples in Canada; speaking out to defend Secwepmec sovereigntists at Gustafsen Lake in 1995; working as a Board member of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation; running a radio show in Vancouver to bring out news - including following the Frank Paul Inquiry - that is otherwise blacked out by Canadian media; and coming to the present time when he is a resource for others.
They Made Me An Outlaw!
That's When I Became A Freedom Fighter.
By Bill Lightbown, Kutenai
- postponed -
Note: Since planning this event, Bill's wife of 65 years, the inimitable Lavina White, has passed on to the spirit world. Out of respect for her passing, this book launch has been delayed until further notice.