Published on July 28, 2014 by Amy
Chief Lawrence Joseph was born on Big River First Nations, and is a member of the Big River band and of Treaty 6. He is the youngest son of the late Ernest and Maria Joseph, and is fluent in both the English and Cree languages.
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In 1967, he received a Business Administration Certificate from the Prince Albert Business College. He went on to study Social Work, Psychology and Sociology at the Universities of Regina and Saskatchewan, beginning in 1974.
At the age of 17, he reached the highest rank with the All Indian Air Cadet Squadron #590 (Warrant Officer II). He served in the Royal Canadian Army (Militia) 44th Battery (Artillery Unit). He was also a civilian instructor with the National Defense Department.
In 1964, Lawrence Joseph received the Queen’s Commission in the Royal Canadian Air Force (Reserves). He was Commissioned at the rank of Pilot Officer, but was immediately promoted to Flying Officer. He is now a full-time member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #2.
Lawrence Joseph was employed with the federal government for 30 years, 15 of which he served in management. While employed at the Saskatchewan Federal Penitentiary in Prince Albert he received commendations from the Solicitor General’s Office for assisting in saving a fellow officer’s life and for preventing the escape of a dangerous offender. In 1992 he received the Governor General’s Medal for public service.
Throughout his career Lawrence Joseph has held several elected positions in the public service sector. He was elected as a Trustee and as Vice-Chairman of the Prince Albert Public School Board of Education. He served two terms as Alderman for Prince Albert, first in 1991 and again in 1995. He was appointed Acting Mayor in 1993 when Mayor Gordon Kirkby was elected as a Member of Parliament. Vice-Chief Joseph is a licensed Lay Reader for the Anglican Church of Canada. In 1996-97, Chief Joseph was President of the Prince Albert & District United Way.
Founder and lead singer of the “Lawrence Joseph Band,” he is well known throughout Saskatchewan for his musical talent. In 1987, he was awarded Prince Albert’s Entertainer of the Year. His talents were again recognized in 1996 as the Saskatchewan winner of the “Women of the Dawn Arts and Entertainment Award.” He hosted BBS-TV’s “Showcase” in 1996-97, and he co-hosted “Indigenous Circle” in the same year.
In October of 1997, Lawrence Joseph was elected Fourth Vice-Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. Throughout his first year as Vice-Chief, he held the Lands and Resources portfolio. In 1998-99 he also accepted responsibility for the Federation’s Justice Commission, which includes Saskatchewan Indian Gaming and Licensing (SIGL).
Re-elected in 2002, Vice-Chief Joseph was currently serving his third term as Fourth Vice-Chief. He held the Justice and the Health and Social Development portfolios.
October 2005, Mr. Joseph was re-elected as Fourth Vice Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. He served one year when he was called upon by the Saskatchewan Chiefs to allow his name stand for the Office of the Chief in the 2006 F.S.I.N. Election. On October 25, 2006, the delegates choose Lawrence Joseph as their new Chief.