Henry Arthur Smitheram | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Henry Arthur Smitheram

Henry Arthur Smitheram, "Butch," politician, public servant (b at Penticton, BC 8 Jan 1918; d at Keremeos, BC 14 Mar 1982). Smitheram was a nonstatus Indian, his Okanagan mother having lost her status upon marrying his English father.

In the late 1950s he resigned his position as an assistant Indian agent, completed high school graduation, attended university and became active in the Indian Eskimo Association of Canada. He travelled throughout BC organizing Métis and nonstatus Indians into what became, in 1969, under his presidency, the BC Association of Non-Status Indians. Advocating personal and community self-help programs, Smitheram induced lasting political awareness among BC's Métis and nonstatus Indians. He played the major part in founding the Native Council of Canada, calling the first organizational meeting in Victoria in 1970 and then drafting the NCC's first constitution. He was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1982.