Dr. Frank Arthur Calder of BC's Nisga'a First Nation was the first aboriginal person to be elected to any Canadian governing body. For twenty-six years he served as an MLA in the legislature of British Columbia. He was the driving force behind Canada's decision to grant recognition of aboriginal land title to First Nations people throughout the country. He accomplished this goal by guiding the controversial request through a series of court cases, finally to the Supreme Court of Canada,achieving success when Parliament, in an all-party resolution, passed a measure recognizing indigenous title. Because of this historic decision, Canada serves as a resource for other aboriginal populations in countries where similar accommodations for aboriginal people have not yet been made. Calder received many honours in his lifetime, including the Order of Canada. The one he most cherished, however, was one rarely bestowed by the Nisga'a Nation: "Chief of Chiefs. " While growing up, Frank went to grade 10 in residential school, completed high school and then graduated from the University of BC (in the Anglican Theological College). It took him two years longer than usual to complete university, as he had to return home during the fishing season to earn the money for his tuition.
Joan Harper's career began in library education at the Vancouver School Board and the University of BC. A long-time admirer of the work of Frank Calder, Joan met Frank's wife shortly after Frank's death and gained access to much private material, augmenting it with extensive research through interviews and in the archives. Currently, Joan resides in Schelt, BC, with her husband.
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