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2005 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award

Honoree: Chief Robert Pasco (Paska)

Chief Robert Pasco (Paska)
Chief Robert Pasco (Paska)

The 2005 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award honors Chief Robert Pasco (Paska) as a finalist for his contributions to the improvements of Nlaka'pamux Nation social, political, economic, and environmental conditions. Chief Pasco is Chief of the Oregon Jack Creek Indian Band, member of the Nlaka'pamux Nation, and serves as chair of the Nlaka'pamux Nation Tribal Council (NNTC).

Chief Pasco was born at Ntequem, a small Nlaka'pamux community near Ashcroft, British Columbia where he and his family have lived for generations. He attended a residential school at Lytton, BC for six and a half years. The education policy of the day for most indigenous people was removal of children from families into a separate school system.

The sixteen Bands of the Nlaka'pamux Nation mandated Chief Pasco and the NNTC to be responsible for the protection and promotion of the Nlaka'pamux title and rights. The Nlaka'pamux Nation is located in the southern interior of British Columbia and extends into the state of Washington.

Chief Pasco is currently challenging the Greater Vancouver Regional District's attempt to place a garbage dump on the homeland of the Nlaka'pamux. He is working to find mutually acceptable and beneficial alternatives such as thermal gasification. His efforts focus on proper solid waste management by those who create the garbage, while protecting the Fraser River fishery, which is one of the largest in the world. This resource is important to all the Indigenous Nations in the Fraser River watershed.

Chief Pasco initiated the development of the Interior Tribal Fishing Treaty, which has the support of most First Nations along the Fraser River System. The court case of Pasco v. CN Rail has also provided significant environmental protection to the Nlaka'pamux fishery that is at the heart of Nlaka'pamux title and rights.

Chief Pasco participated in the creation of and assists the Nlaka'pamux Services Society, which addresses the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of the Nlaka'pamux. He also worked with the other Nlaka'pamux Chiefs and Tribal staff in the creation of a safe house for women and children.

Chief Pasco works through other organizations to achieve the objectives of the Nlaka'pamux Nation. He has participated in the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and served on two Federal Environmental Review Panels. Chief Pasco is a member of the Fraser River Management Board, Credit Union Board, National Economic Development Program Board and BC Rail Board. He serves as President of both the Ashcroft Rancher's Association (BC Cattlemen's Association) and the Western Indian Rodeo and Exhibition Association.

Chief Pasco has served as a presenter and educator on matters ranging from community planning, sovereignty, jurisdiction, fishing education, and language. Chief Pasco, Eddie and Amy Charlie, Bev Phillips, Les Edmunds, Hank Andrews, and Nlaka'pamux Tribal staff are documenting the Nlaka'pamux language in a unique system. Chief Pasco is also involved in ranching at his home in Ntequem near Ashcroft, British Columbia.

Chief Robert Pasco, the Chair of the Nlaka'pamux Nation Tribal Council, has dedicated his life to the protection and promotion of Nlaka'pamux title and rights, not only for the benefit of the Nlaka'pamux but for the community as a whole. His work has resulted in the protection of the fishery, the environment and the Nlaka'pamux culture and language. He is currently working to develop viable alternatives to the garbage dump the GVRD is attempting to impose on the homelands of the Nlaka'pamux. With the 2010 Olympics being hosted by the neighbouring Nation in their traditional lands, this is an opportunity to show the world that positive resolution of a common challenge is possible. Chief Pasco is focused on finding positive solutions which will ensure the continuation of Nlaka'pamux title and rights for future generations.


2005 Honorees

W. Ron Allen

Robi Michelle Craig

Leaf Hillman

Chief Robert Pasco

Shawn Yanity


Astrid Scholz
tel: 503.467.0758
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Jason Pretty Boy
Indigenous Resilience Fellow
tel: 503.467.0803


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