Calder, Frank Arthur

CALDER, Frank Arthur, Nisga'a chief, politician (b 3 Aug 1915, Nass Harbour; d 4 Nov 2006, Victoria). A graduate of the Anglican Theological College at UBC (1946), he worked in fish canning and forestry, and as an entrepreneur. He was elected to the provincial legislature for the CCF in 1949, the first aboriginal person elected to a Canadian legislature. He held his ATLIN seat for the CCF/NDP until 1956 and again from 1960 to 1975. With the NDP victory in 1972 he joined the cabinet as minister without portfolio, the first aboriginal cabinet minister in Canadian history, but he was dismissed after a policy disagreement. He left the NDP to join the SOCIAL CREDIT PARTY and was re-elected in 1975 but lost his seat in 1979 and retired from politics. Meanwhile he was a respected activist in the struggle for aboriginal land rights (see ABORIGINAL RIGHTS) as founding president of the Nishga Tribal Council during 1955–74. Under his leadership the NTC initiated the landmark CALDER CASE in the courts. His awards include the Order of Canada (1988), membership in the FIRST NATIONS Hall of Fame (1967), and the Order of BC (2004). See also NISGA'A.