Saturday, November 4, 2017

MLA Ross pays tribute to life of Elmer Derrick in Legislature speech

MLA Ellis Ross paid tribute
to the life of Elmerk Derrick
on Wednesday at the Legislature
The passing of Elmer Derrick, the Hereditary Chief of the Gitxsan Nation was noted at the British Columbia Legislature this week, as Ellis Ross, the MLA for Skeena and long time friend who considered Mr. Derrick to be a mentor for him paid tribute to his life.

The First Nations Leader passed away in Vancouver in late September at the age of 69 and was returned to the Northwest and his home community.

Speaking during the Wednesday session of the Legislature, Mr. Ross provided a snapshot into the impact that Mr. Derrick had delivered both to the province and personally for the MLA.

In his comments for the Legislature Mr. Ross noted the work of Mr. Derrick as an educator, member of many Boards and prominently as a First Nations leader.

Our notes on his passing of September can be reviewed here.

Mr. Ross's statement to the House can be reviewed below:

I rise today to recognize my late mentor and friend Elmer Derrick. Elmer was a First Nations leader that I highly respected. He served his people as a Hereditary Chief of the Gitxsan Nation, as well as serving on a number of boards of directors. Elmer Derrick also spent a significant amount of time sharing his wisdom with others, including as an educator, teaching courses at Northwest Community College.

I remember the times when we met at conferences and in airports while waiting for flights as some of the best conversations that I've ever had with another First Nations leader. Being a First Nations leader, wanting change for people is to be alone and highly criticized regardless of the facts or good intentions. Elmer understood this. 

He stayed true to his word and did so even though he knew the adversity that was coming. He always felt it was worthwhile facing the adversity if it meant that his people got to a better place. He never wanted to talk about what he was going through, instead choosing to encourage me to carry on with the path I had chosen and not to be discouraged, no matter what kind of abuse I was taking.

His quiet, reassuring words got me through some of the worst times in my life as a young leader. I owe him a huge debt of gratitude, and I miss him. 

Thank you, Elmer Derrick, for your wisdom and guidance. British Columbia has lost a great man. I hope this House will join me in recognizing Elmer Derrick's contributions to building our province. 

And to Elmer Derrick himself, please rest in peace.

You can also view his statement to the House from a posting on Mr. Ross's Facebook page

For more items of note on the work of Mr. Ross at the Legislature see our archive page here.

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