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Joseph Arthur Gosnell

Lifetime (2000)

Dr. Joseph Arthur Gosnell, Hon. L.L.D., O.B.C., spent the better part of his entire lifetime fighting a one-hundred-year-old battle that he inherited from his two great-great-grandfathers. It was a battle against all odds, but he won. A statesman, hereditary chief, and a hero, Dr. Gosnell was born in the Nass Valley. Over the last sixty-four years, he has been a carpenter, a gillnet fisher, a renowned carver, as well as chair of the Nisga’a Tribal Council for twenty years. He has played trombone in the Salvation Army band and represented Canada on the Pacific Salmon Commission. He is currently the President of the Nisga’a Nation and Chief Negotiator for the Nisga’a people. It was as Chief Negotiator that he led the battle for justice: a land claim for the Nisga’a. After a lifetime of struggle without the resources of his adversaries, Dr. Gosnell completed the work of his ancestors with the signing of the historic Nisga’a Treaty on August 4, 1999. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation named him the 1999 Newsmaker of the Year. He is the recipient of the Order of British Columbia, as well as a Humanitarian Award from the Canadian Labour Congress and two honorary doctorates. Above all, Dr. Gosnell is a Nisga’a and with the keen intelligence of the eagle, the courage of the bear, and the loyalty of the wolf – he embodies the age-old qualities of his people.