Dr. Joseph Gosnell Sr. was selected as an Honorary Director of Wilp Wilxo’oskwhl Nisga’a Institute in 2005.
Dr. Gosnell is a hereditary chief in the Laxsgiik (Eagle Tribe) of the Nisga’a Nation in the House of Hleek. He is a fluent speaker of the Nisga’a language and knowledgeable in Nisga’a culture and traditions.
Dr. Gosnell was the Chief Negotiator of the Nisga’a Treaty, Executive Chairman and President of Nisga’a Tribal Council, first elected President of Nisga’a Lisims Government, Chief of Gitlakdamix Band, Councillor of Gitlakdamix Band, Board member of Native Brotherhood of BC, Commissioner on Pacific Salmon Commission, Member of First Nations Advisory Council, Simon Fraser University, and Governor on Council for Canadian Unity.
In his distinguished career as a politician, Dr. Gosnell has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Royal Roads University (1997), Open Learning Agency (1999), and Simon Fraser University (2000), Order of British Columbia (1999), Officer of the Order of Canada (2001), Companion of the Order of Canada (2007), Honorary Doctor of Technology from BC Institute of Technology (2007), Humanitarian Award from the Canadian Labour Congress (1999), Bachelor of Laws from Wilp Wilxo’oskwhl Nisga’a Institute and University of Northern BC (2001), Newsmaker of the Year Award from CTV News (1996) and CBC Radio (1998), Citation for Leadership from Dialogue Canada Magazine (1986), Lifetime Achievement Award from National Aboriginal Achievement Awards (2000), Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002), and Education Endowment for Aboriginal Justice Patron from the University of Victoria (2000).
He has traveled extensively on a Nisga’a Treaty speaking tour that included stops in Germany, Vienna, London, Cambridge and Leiden. He has spoken at Harvard University and Cambridge University. Upon receipt of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, Dr. Gosnell and his wife Adele attended a dinner of honourees in presence of Queen Elizabeth II at Rideau Hall, Ottawa, ON.