‘Native American’ Tsawwassen First Nation chief makes most influential list

It’s a nice bit of recognition, even though they got where he comes from wrong.

The group Apolitical, a global policy platform, has named Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Bryce Williams as one of the world’s most influential young people under 35 who are making an impact early in their government careers.

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The young chief is part of an inaugural list in Apolitical 2018 list of 100 Future Leaders: The World’s Most Influential Young People in Government, which says it drew on hundreds of nominations from experts and leading organizations.

The list includes some well-known faces at the centre of policymaking who are exerting influence on the international stage, says Apolitical, also noting it’s shining a spotlight on those quietly transforming the face of government at the local or national level.

“These young leaders are ones to watch, who will continue to transform governments far and wide for years to come,” Apolitical states, adding, “Some are rising stars who are already winning attention for the work they do. Others may work behind the scenes, but wield unexpected amounts of influence for their age, or inspire their peers or older colleagues to greater things.”

Williams made the list with “USA” beside his name and title.

Apolitical explained, “Bryce Williams is chief of the Tsawwassen first nation, a Native American people based on the Strait of Georgia. He was elected chief of the nation at 23, one of the youngest in history, after just one year as an elected official on the nation's council. A carver and painter, since becoming chief he has championed the nation's economic development, working to attract investment and jobs. Williams is passionate about attracting more youth to government in the nation, and keen to help them strengthen ties with their native american culture through language and music classes.”

There’s no doubt Williams is at the helm of a rapidly transforming community, changing not only its own lands but the face of the Lower Mainland. The TFN is best known for Tsawwassen Mills, a 200-store destination fashion mall that opened two years ago, and the adjacent Tsawwassen Commons, but it has other changes on the way, including an array of housing and industrial developments.

TFN’s evolving post-treaty plans also include building a cultural centre and new housing for members, among other things, which Williams talked about in a previous Optimist interview. He said their culture and values continue to guide them.

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