West Kelowna  

Grand Chief Noll Derriksan has passed away at 79

Former WFN chief dies

Westbank First Nation flags have been lowered to half staff in the memory of former chief Noll Derriksan.

Derriksan passed away late Wednesday night from natural causes. He was 79.

Born in Kelowna in 1940, Derriksan "grew up in the wilderness of the Westbank forests and Okanagan Lake during the 40s and 50s," according to a biography on the Penticton Art Gallery.

He was one of the first Indigenous students enrolled in the Westbank Public School, and later attended George Pringle junior, and high school.

"Through the 1970s and 1980s, Noll went on to become one of British Columbia's most recognized native artists, and a sought after mentor, teaching art to others in his Okanagan community," the biography stated.

"As the executive president of the National Indian Arts and Crafts Corporation based in Ottawa, he promoted native art across Canada, establishing societies in each of the 10 provinces and two territories.

"For over 17 years Noll served as president of the BC Indian Arts and Crafts Society an organization which provided grants to over 100 artists and craftsmen, allowing them to become self-sufficient in their craft. In addition he helped organized an annual exhibit showcasing native arts and crafts in Vancouver."

Derriksan served as chief of the Westbank Indian Band for 12 years, and was granted the honourary title of Grand Chief.

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