Tribute to Robert Sterling

Oil on Canvas, 24 x 34, 1984
Robert Sterling
Nlaka'pamux (Thompson)

Tribute to Robert Sterling
  • Member of the Lower Nicola band at Merritt, British Columbia.
  • Assisted with the Native Indian Home School Co-ordinator program in British Columbia.
  • Instrumental in developing the Native Indian Teacher Education Program (NITEP) at UBC.
  • Headed the Nicola Valley Indian Education Administration in Merritt.

Robert Sterling helped develop the Native Indian Teacher’s Education Program at the University of British Columbia, a program that has changed the world for many people by opening up education to communities badly in need of trained teachers. He was a member of the Nlaka’pamux (Thompson) Nation at Nicola Valley and the Home-School Co-ordinator for the area, managing the efforts of the Education Committee for several related bands and pushing for the organization of a local library to increase literacy. Sterling was an educator. He helped create a better understanding of the consequences of residential schools, and organized programs to inform people about lingering effects and strengthen cultural understanding for later generations. Sterling authored several articles mapping the social and linguistic constructive differences between English and First Nations speakers, particularly in instruction and teaching, to highlight the ways in which education could be more effective. His legacy, particularly NITEP, helped ensure that schools will better serve First Nations children. He was, as Patricia Logie said, “a man of great vision, insight and compassion.”

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