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Chief Saul Terry

Chief Saul Terry is a citizen of the Stl'Atl'Imx Nation (Lillooet Tribe) and a member of the Xwisten community (Bridge River Band) near Lillooet, BC. He was born at Lillooet on January 4, 1942.

Chief Terry's primary and junior secondary education was obtained at the Kamloops Residential School. He graduated from ST. Ann's Academy, Kamloops, in 1962.

Chief Terry graduated with honors in sculpture from the Vancouver School of Art (now the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design)) in 1968. At the invitation of Philip Paul, he went to Victoria in 1969/70 to become the first Aboriginal art instructor hired by the Institute of Adult Studies (now Camosun College). At the time, Philip Paul was organizing the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and George Manuel was beginning his work organizing the National Indian Brotherhood (forerunner of the Assembly of First Nations). Saul spent many evenings discussing the emergent Indian rights movement with Philip and George. In late 1970, Saul moved back home to Lillooet to work in the field of education for his people.

Saul was elected Chief of the Bridge River band in 1973 and remained the elected chief until 1989 when he stepped down voluntarily to spend more time on his duties as President of UBCIC. He was asked to run again for Chief and was elected in 1992, serving to the present. During his first tenure as Chief, Saul was active in the Union Of BC Indian Chiefs, heading up UBCIC's fisheries and economic development under George Manuel's presidency and was also elected Chairman of the Central Interior Tribal Councils (1978-1983).

Chief Saul Terry was first elected President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs in 1983. Since then, he has been re-elected to four consecutive terms of office and is the Union's longest-serving chief executive. During his years of office, Saul has continued to sculpt when time permits but most of his energies have focused on developing tools for First Nations to carve out for themselves a new future of decolonization and self determination.

"We're tired of surviving. We want to live!" --Chief Saul Terry, July 1990


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