George Manuel
George Manuel

Oil on Canvas, 24 x 30, 1983
Grand Chief George Manuel
1921-1989
Leader, Political Activist, Chief
Secwepemc (Shuswap)

George Manuel
  • Born on the Shuswap Reserve in British Columbia.
  • Member of the Neskainlith band.
  • Awarded the Order of Canada.
  • Received an Honorary Doctorate (LLD) from UBC.
  • Neskolinth founded the George Manuel Institute in his honour.
  • Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs President.
  • National Indian Brotherhood President.
  • Founder, World Council of Indigenous Peoples. 

Through three decades of political life, George Manuel served as a leader and an inspiration in the First Nations movement. In 1959, Manuel took over the leadership of the North American Indian Brotherhood and built the organization into a strong political force. Manuel sought unity and freedom for Aboriginal peoples by co-ordinating his efforts with those of Indigenous peoples in North, Central and South America and Eurasia. He served as the founder and first President of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples, a UN-affiliated organization, and earned several Nobel Prize nominations for his international activism. Back home in British Columbia he helped legitimize First Nations radical activism, leading a movement that helped insure the inclusion of First Nations rights provisions in the 1980 constitutional amendment. Manuel’s fight for the recognition of Aboriginal peoples around the world earned him the Order of Canada in 1986. Manuel called on Canadians to recognize the failures of history and move to correct them. His visionary leadership irrevocably changed the lives of First Nations people.

For more information about First Nations in B.C., resources available at UBC, or information about these individuals, visit the Resources section.