Chief Simon Baker

Oil on Canvas, 26 x 34, 1984
Chief Simon Baker, Khot-La-Cha
1911-2001
Chief, Leader, Educator
Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw. (Squamish)

Chief Simon Baker
  • The only Squamish member designated “Chief for Lifetime.”
  • Received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Heritage and   Spirituality.
  • Received Order of Canada.
  • Honorary Doctorate of Laws from UBC.
  • Elder, First Nations House of Learning, UBC.

“I tried to practice what they taught me, keeping up my culture from the teachings of my elders. I was glad to listen, to obey and practice our way. I still have the knowledge, wisdom and philosophies of our elders.” - Chief Simon Baker

Chief Simon Baker was named Khot-La-Cha, the man with the kind heart, and he travelled the world as an ambassador for the First Nations and Canadian West Coast culture. Chief Simon Baker followed in the footsteps of his maternal grandparents as a leader and speaker for the Squamish people, making First Nations people visible as a living part of Canadian culture. He helped organize the first public pow-wows and First Nations sporting events, appeared in films and television shows, and visited Western Europe, New Zealand and Japan to speak with Aboriginal peoples and political leaders about the value of Aboriginal culture. In Canada, he was a beloved leader at his local band and in the larger community, serving as Councillor to the Squamish Nation for over 30 years and earning such honours as the B.C. Centennial Award of Merit (1958, 1971), Order of Canada (1977), National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Heritage and Spirituality (2000) and recognition from individual First Nations across Canada. He was a “King of Elders” (1989) and awarded the unprecedented title “Chief for Lifetime” of the Squamish Nation. Chief Baker worked closely with the University of British Columbia First Nations House of Learning and the Native Indian Teacher Education Program (NITEP), and he assisted in fundraising for the First Nations Longhouse. For his contributions he was named an honorary NITEP graduate (1984) and honorary Doctor of Laws (1990).

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