May 15, 2014 – The UBC Longhouse community greets the recent news of the death of Musqueam Elder Delbert Guerin Sr. with sadness and expresses its condolences to the Guerin family and the Musqueam Nation.
Delbert Guerin was a former chief of the Musqueam Indian Band and a leader recognized internationally for his contributions to Aboriginal rights. He was also a friend to many at UBC who knew him from Wednesday nights at Musqueam 101, where he was a regular and valued contributor to many discussions.
Delbert is known internationally for his role in the Guerin v. The Queen (1984), a landmark legal case arising from the terms of the lease of Musqueam lands to the Shaughnessy Golf Course in 1954.
That case redefined the fiduciary responsibility of the Canadian government in its relations with First Nations and advanced the standing of Aboriginal title in Canadian law.
Dr. Linc Kesler, director of the First Nations House of Learning, recalls how Delbert’s recounting of the history of that case was “both instructive and amusing.”
He says Delbert “will be missed by many of us for his warmth, his wit, and his contributions.”
The UBC Point Grey campus is located on the ancestral, traditional and unceded territory of the Musqueam Nation. In 2006, UBC and the Musqueam Nation signed a Memorandum of Affiliation.
At the time, then Councillor Delbert Guerin Sr., who signed the memorandum on behalf of Musqueam, said, “This agreement cements our commitment to working as partners with UBC on a variety of mentoring, sports and academic programs that encourage, inspire and empower not only Musqueam but all First Nations students to expect and strive for the best.”
On Friday, May 16, UBC will lower the BC flag on the Point Grey campus in his memory.
Watch Delbert Guerin Sr. talk about his efforts to launch the Musqueam’s landmark legal case in a 2005 video, hosted on the Governance and Lands Claims Speaker Series webpage, produced by UBC’s First Nations Studies Program and published on the Indigenous Foundations website. The link to the video of Delbert’s presentation is half-way down the page.