Dear friends & family,
Re: Passing of Late Chief Richard Williams
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Squamish Nation Leader, elected Councillor, Hereditary Chief Richard Williams – Xwélxwelacha-t Siy̓ám̓ (also known as Chief Dick Williams), born on February 25, 1948 and passed away on the morning of December 9, 2023.
Chief Dick Williams dedicated his life to the betterment of his community through public service as well as the protection of the rights of First Nations. As an Elder, knowledge keeper, and hereditary chief, he served on the Squamish Nation Council for over 40 years, most recently as elected Councillor following the September 2021 election. He considered it an honour to represent and serve the Squamish People for most of his life.
Through the years, Chief Dick Williams was an integral part of the Nation’s growth and transformation, including the Omnibus Trust Action court case launched in 1977 to reclaim our people’s lands at Senákw. He was also a passionate protector of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh fishing rights, served on the Squamish Nation Trust, and, among several other positions, served as Fisheries Manager for many years.
Chief Dick Williams believed young people are the future and thrived on sharing his knowledge with the younger generations as a way of reminding them of who we are and where we come from. He was a mentor to many people near and far.
Born in Vancouver, his late parents were Ted and Mavis Williams. His grandparents were Chief Edward Williams (from Yekw’ápsem) and Rose Williams (Ruby Creek Tribe); Louie Lewis – Siytáx̱el (from Ch’iyáḵmesh) and Madge Lewis (Anderson Lake Tribe). He was predeceased by his wife, Maureen Underwood, from Saanich, and is survived by his three children, Amanda, Dickie, and Ellen.
We extend our sincerest condolences to his family and friends. Funeral arrangement details for Chief Dick Williams will be announced to the community in the coming days.