Leonard Marchand

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Leonard Marchand

Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Kamloops–Cariboo
In office
Preceded byDistrict was created in 1966
Succeeded byDistrict was abolished in 1976
Senator for Kamloops-Cariboo, British Columbia
In office
Appointed byPierre Trudeau
Personal details
Leonard Stephen Marchand

(1933-11-16)November 16, 1933
Vernon, British Columbia
DiedJune 3, 2016(2016-06-03) (aged 82)
Kamloops, British Columbia
Political partyLiberal

Leonard Stephen "Len" Marchand, PC CM OBC (November 16, 1933 – June 3, 2016) was a Canadian politician. He was the first person of First Nations status to serve in the federal cabinet, after being the first Status Indian elected and serving as a Member of Parliament. He served as Parliamentary Secretary, Minister of State, Minister of the Environment and Senator. [1]

Early life[edit]

Marchand was born in Vernon, British Columbia, as a member of the Okanagan Indian Band. An agronomist by training, he left his profession in the mid-1960s to work with the North American Indian Brotherhood. His work in native affairs took him to Ottawa to lobby on Aboriginal issues. He was hired as a special assistant to two successive Cabinet ministers.


Marchand entered politics and was elected to the House of Commons in the 1968 election as a Liberal Party candidate for the British Columbia riding of Kamloops-Cariboo. He defeated high-profile Progressive Conservative candidate E. Davie Fulton. He was the first Status Indian to be elected as an MP.

He became parliamentary secretary to Jean Chrétien, who was the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, helping persuade Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to begin land settlement negotiations between the federal government and the First Nations.

In 1976, Marchand was appointed to the Cabinet as Minister of State for small business. He was the first Status Indian to be appointed to a cabinet position. In 1977, he was promoted to Minister of the Environment, and held the post until his and the government's defeat in the 1979 election.

Marchand returned to British Columbia where he became administrator for the Nicola Valley Indian Administration. In 1984, he was appointed to the Senate, the second Aboriginal Canadian to be appointed (the first was James Gladstone). Marchand persuaded the Upper House to establish the Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, on which he served as chairman.

Marchand retired from the Senate in 1998 at the age of 64, eleven years ahead of the mandatory retirement age, in order to spend more time in British Columbia. He died on June 3, 2016.[2]

Legacy and honours[edit]

Order of Canada (CM) ribbon bar.png Order British Columbia ribbon bar.svg
QEII Silver Jubilee Medal ribbon.png 125canada ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal ribbon.png QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.png

Ribbon Description Notes
Order of Canada (CM) ribbon bar.png Order of Canada (CM)
  • Member
  • 1999
Order British Columbia ribbon bar.svg Order of British Columbia (OBC)
  • Member
  • 2014
  • [4]
QEII Silver Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal
  • 1977
  • Canadian Version of this Medal
125canada ribbon.png 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal
  • 1992
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
  • 2002
  • Canadian Version of this Medal
QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • 2012
  • Canadian version of this Medal


There is a Leonard Marchand fonds at Library and Archives Canada[6].


  1. ^ ICTMN Staff, "Len Marchand, First Status Indian Elected to Canadian Parliament, Walks On" Archived 2016-10-26 at the Wayback Machine, Indian Country Today Media Network, 7 June 2016
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-09-10. Retrieved 2016-06-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Okanagan band member receives Order of B.C.
  4. ^ https://www.orderofbc.gov.bc.ca/2014-recipient-the-honourable-leonard-marchand-kamloops/
  5. ^ https://www.tru.ca/convocation/history/honorary-degree/1999.html#marchand
  6. ^ "Leonard Marchand fonds, Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved September 18, 2020.

External links[edit]