Canadian Alternate Commissioner

Robert Chamberlin

I am an Island-born First Nations person. I grew up in Nanaimo, BC and spent the majority of my adult life working and living there. I was born in Alert Bay on Vancouver Island, B.C. As a single dad, I raised my son with core values that matter to me: working hard to build a life we can be proud of, being community-minded consistent with our First Nations teachings, respecting the people and the environment around him, and being accountable and responsible for his actions.

I have had the privilege of being re-elected as Chief every two years since 2005. I am very proud of what we have accomplished for my community on Gilford Island – completely rebuilt the village with new homes, a new innovative water system, infrastructure, electrical upgrades, the improvements to the delivery of health services, sound financial management – we really have improved the quality of life. In so doing, I acquired many skills, such as navigating and engaging federal bureaucracy, setting and managing budgets, community engagement and making decisions consistent with community direction, and seeking out opportunities to keep us moving forward.

Serving as Chief of my nation opened doors to wider responsibilities regionally and nationally. For the past 10 years I have served as the Vice-President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and have made presentations to Standing Senate Committees, various authorities and bodies on a wide-range of issues, always advocating on behalf of the people I represent. Ultimately, I have dedicated my career to raising awareness about our most urgent democratic, environmental and social issues because I strongly believe that a better way forward is achievable.

Appointed in February, 2020

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