Lydia Hwitsum is a citizen of the Cowichan Nation located in Duncan on Vancouver Island where she previously served four two-year terms as the elected Chief of the Cowichan Tribes.
She has advocated for Indigenous and human rights locally, nationally and internationally. She has presented at the United Nations Permanent Forum on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and at the Organization of American States Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Ms. Hwitsum has more than 20 years of experience in leadership positions in Indigenous governance in British Columbia and throughout Canada. She is currently a member of the Royal Roads University Board of Governors. She has previously held board positions on the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, the BC Land Title and Survey Authority, the BC Capacity Initiative Council and the Tele’ethw Aboriginal Capital Corporation. She is also former Chair of the First Nations Health Authority.
Ms. Hwitsum holds a Certificate of Administration of Aboriginal Governments and a Diploma in Public Sector Management from the University of Victoria, as well as dispute resolution training from the BC Justice Institute. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Victoria.
Ms. Hwitsum was elected in June 2019 to a second term on the First Nations Summit Political Executive, which is mandated to carry out specific tasks related to Aboriginal Title and Rights negotiations with British Columbia and Canada and other issues of common concern to First Nations in British Columbia. She previously served on the FNS Political Executive from 2002-2004.