In the opening to his memoir, Grand Chief Ron Derrickson says his “story is not a litany of complaints but a list of battles” that he has fought. And he promises he will not be overly pious in his telling of them. “As a businessman,” he writes, “I like to give the straight goods.”
In Fight or Submit, Derrickson delivers on his promise and it turns out he has a hell of a story to tell. Born and raised in a tarpaper shack, he went on to become one of the most successful Indigenous businessmen in Canada. As a political leader, he served as Chief of the Westbank First Nation for a dozen years and was made a Grand Chief by the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs.
Along the way, he has been the target of a full Royal Commission and an assassination attempt by a hitman hired by local whites. As Chief, he increased his community’s revenues by 3500% and led his people into a war in the forest over logging rights. In 2015, he became an award-winning author when Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call, a book he co-authored with Arthur Manuel, won the Canadian History Association Literary Award. His second book co-authored with Manuel, Reconciliation Manifesto, won the B.C. Book Prize for non-fiction.
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Grand Chief Ronald M. Derrickson is one of the most successful Indigenous entrepreneurs in Canada. He also served as Chief of the Westbank First Nation for a dozen years and led his community from poverty to prosperity while surviving an assassination attempt and a Royal Commission on his business and political activities. He lives in Westbank First Nation, close to Kelowna, B.C.
Published: October 2020
Dimensions: 6 x 9 in.
“Grand Chief Ronald M. Derrickson has captured a vivid and arresting account of the challenges he confronted and surmounted as an Indigenous leader in a society dominated by racism. Providing insightful commentary on Indigenous politics and the various communal and interpersonal conflicts that he encountered as Chief of West Bank First Nation, Grand Chief Derrickson’s tenacity, resourcefulness, and inner drive for justice shines through.” – Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs