|Minister of Children and Families of British Columbia|
November 1, 2000 – June 5, 2001
|Preceded by||Gretchen Brewin|
|Succeeded by||Gordon Hogg|
Edward John is a prominent First Nations political leader in Canada. The son of Louis and Amelia John, he was born on July 8, 1949 in the Carrier village of Tache, along the north shore of Stuart Lake, about 60 km from Fort St. James, British Columbia. He holds the name 'Ukailch'oh (Carrier Linguistic Committee spelling, often spelled Akile Ch'oh) in the Lusilyoo clan. He has three grown children from his first marriage to Susan John: Martin, Damian, and Shendah, and two grandchildren, Aiden and Kieran. He is currently married to former Musqueam chief Wendy Grant-John.
He attended Lejac Residential School, Prince George College, and Notre Dame University College in Nelson, B.C. before receiving a B.A. in sociology (with distinction) from the University of Victoria in 1974 and an LL.B. from the University of British Columbia in 1979. He practiced law as a solo practitioner in Prince George, British Columbia from 1981 to 1993. In 2004 he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Northern British Columbia.
John served as an elected Councillor of Tl'azt'en Nation from 1974 to 1990 and as elected Chief from 1990 to 1992. From 1984 to 1988 he was Chief of the Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council. From 1992 until 1999 he was Chief Treaty Negotiator for the Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council, a position he resumed in 2006. He is also Chairman of the Board of Tanizul Timber and Teeslee Forest Products, companies owned by Tl'azt'en Nation. For his service to Tl'azt'en Nation he was awarded the title of Grand Chief of Tl'azt'en Nation.
A fluent speaker of Carrier and one of the few people considered eloquent public speakers in Carrier, John was the founding President of the Yinka Dene Language Institute. He was also involved in establishing the University of Northern British Columbia. He played a prominent role in the Interior University Society, the regional organization whose pressure led to the creation of UNBC, and subsequently served on the Implementation Council and the Interim Governing Council, the predecessor to the Board of Governors.
John was the First Nations representative to the First Ministers Conference on aboriginal constitutional rights from 1983 to 1987. In 1991, along with the late Squamish Chief Joe Matthias, he helped to create the First Nations Summit, the organization representing the British Columbia First Nations involved in treaty negotiations with Canada and British Columbia. This group produced the tripartite Task Force Report that led to the current British Columbia Treaty Process.
On November 1, 2000 he was appointed to the provincial cabinet as Minister for Children and Families, serving until the change of government in June, 2001. In the election of May 16, 2001 he ran unsuccessfully as the New Democratic Party candidate for Member of the Legislative Assembly from the Prince George-Omineca riding.
John also plays a prominent role at the national level in the Assembly of First Nations. In October 2005 he represented the AFN at the Second Indigenous Peoples' Summit of the Americas in Buenos Aires. In January 2011 he began a three year term as the North American Representative to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues., of which he became Chair in May 2012.
- http://www.un.org/apps/news/newsmakers.asp?NewsID=66#.UFac0GaqoUM text of UN interview
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GS3azPGdPgk video of interview with Rosalba Nattero