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Obituary: Cowichan Tribes elder organized housing protests

Nov 14 2012
Cowichan Tribes elder Abraham Casper Joe, who died Nov. 11, is greeted at Government House by former Lt.-Gov. Steven Point during an elders luncheon 

Cowichan Tribes elder Abraham Casper Joe, who died Nov. 11, is greeted at Government House by former Lt.-Gov. Steven Point during an elders luncheon

Photograph by: Joey Caro , Special to Times Colonist

A longtime Cowichan Tribes political activist who organized First Nations housing protests in the 1960s has died. Abraham Casper Joe, 86, died in Duncan General Hospital Nov. 11.

Joey Caro, Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group communication manager, said that in 1966, many Cowichan Tribes members lived in shacks or substandard homes on the reserve, but the government offered only two houses that year.

Joe organized massive protests, with support of the Cowichan Tribes, the University of Victoria, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and other neighbouring communities, Caro said.

The protests generated Canada-wide media attention and brought an unprecedented federally funded housing project to Cowichan, with 81 new houses built between 1966 and 1971. Joe, who attended Kuper Island Residential School and later served as a Cowichan Tribes council member, was founding chairman of a committee that supported land claims efforts by Vancouver Island Coast Salish communities. That committee planted the seeds for the Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group. -

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