Fred House

Fred House has spent his lifetime giving voice to a people that were formerly among Canada’s most disenfranchised – non-status Indians. A brilliant Métis leader, Mr. House also helped ensure his people were not ignored, forgotten and disenfranchised all over again when Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau and the provincial premiers repatriated the Canadian Constitution 20 years ago. The rights of Canada’s Métis are now constitutionally enshrined and other battles for recognition can continue. Mr. House was once described as a “born leader, fighting for those who can’t speak for themselves and one who never ever gives up.” This description fits him well. He served as President of the British Columbia Association of Non-Status Indians in the turbulent 1970s and formed Coyote Credit Union which provides small business loans and investments for Aboriginal entrepreneurs. Mr. House founded a construction company and heavy equipment contracting co-operative that employed hundreds. He fought long and hard to convince government officials that Métis and non-status Indians desperately needed access to social housing by bringing attention to the deplorable housing crisis in Northern B.C. in the 70s. Mr. House established a province-wide network of court workers to assist Aboriginal people before the courts. This tireless advocate for Métis rights has taken his people’s case directly to every Prime Minister since John Diefenbaker. He once boldly approached Mr. Trudeau as the Prime Minister’s car idled on Parliament Hill and demanded a meeting between the late Prime Minister and Métis leaders. He got it. Mr. House remains plain-spoken to this day and will never retreat when he believes his cause is just.