Members of the Secwepemc Nation, Indigenous leaders, colleagues, and friends from across Canada came together at the community centre of the Adams Lake Indian Band in Chase, B.C., this weekend to honour the memory of a revered Indigenous leader and author.

Arthur Manuel passed away on Jan. 11, 2017, at the age of 66. His life’s work was devoted to Indigenous rights and title, as well as to the future prosperity and sovereignty of First Nations and Indigenous peoples around the globe.

“Arthur spent decades trying to get the federal comprehensive land claims policy changed to end the requirement of extinguishment of Aboriginal title,” said Russell Diabo, a policy analyst, writer, and friend of Manuel. “Arthur spent his lifetime striving relentlessly to get the return of stolen Indigenous lands, territories, and resources from the federal and provincial governments.”

“In my opinion, Arthur was a great leader who was the closest type of person to Nelson Mandela we had here in Canada and there is no one else who I’ve seen among the current First Nations leaders in Canada who can even begin to fill the shoes of Arthur Manuel,” Diabo added. “It will now take many more people to do the work Arthur was doing single-handedly with little or no resources.”