Bev Sellars is a former Chief and Councillor of the Xat’sull (Soda Creek) First Nation in Williams Lake, British Columbia. First elected chief of Xat’sull in 1987, a position she held from 1987-1993 and then from 2009-2015. She also worked as a community advisor for the BC Treaty Commission. Ms. Sellars served as the representative for the Secwepemc communities on the Cariboo Chilcotin Justice Inquiry in the early 1990s. Ms. Sellars has spoken out on racism and residential schools and on the environmental and social threats of mineral resources exploitation in her region.
Ms. Sellars is the author of They Called Me Number One, a memoir of her childhood experience in the Indian residential school system and its effects on three generations of women in her family, published in 2013 by Talon Books. The book won the 2014 George Ryga Award for Social Awareness, was shortlisted for the 2014 Hubert Evans Non-Fiction, and was a finalist for the 2014 Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature. Her book, Price Paid: The Fight for First Nations Survival, published in 2016 by Talon Books, looks at the history of Indigenous rights in Canada from an Indigenous perspective. Sellars has a degree in history from the University of Victoria and a law degree from the University of British Columbia. She is currently Chair of First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining (FNWARM) and serves as a Senior Advisor to the Indigenous Leadership Initiative (www.ilinationhood.ca).
“Stern without being pessimistic … readable yet data-rich … The logical reaction to having no idea what to do about an ongoing tragedy in your own country is to put some effort into understanding where the problem came from. This book is a great place to start.” —Broken Pencil
“Bev Sellars does not mince words in her turbo-charged history lessons. … Price Paid is sometimes painful reading but it is necessary if we are to move forward as a country – First Nations and newcomers together – armed with knowledge and empathy.” —BC BookWorld
“[Sellars] tells Canada’s history from a perspective that has rarely been used before: … the people who call these lands their ancestral home. … This book is not a recommended read, it is a necessary read – especially for Canadians. … most readers will feel reborn upon reading this book, so hidden is the truth of Canadian history. … Equipped with the truth, Canadians can finally honestly and comprehensively celebrate our country.”
—Pacific Rim Review of Books
Bev Sellars does not mince words in her turbo-charged history lessons. … Price Paid is sometimes painful reading but it is necessary if we are to move forward as a country – First Nations and newcomers together – armed with knowledge and empathy.”
“This is a book like no other. Bev Sellars combines her keen insights, her studies in history and law, and her experience as a chief of an ‘Indian reserve’ in British Columbia to produce a book that will open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of life under federal government administration. This book will be a significant contribution to the nationwide campaign of Indigenous people to emancipate themselves from the Indian Act and its administrators in Ottawa. Their aim as Sellars explains is meaningful participation in the decisions that affect their rights and interests. As Bill Wilson (Hemas Kla-Lee-Lee-Kla) writes in the foreword, ‘Truth and knowledge are wonderful things.’ Indeed.”
—Paul L.A.H. Chartrand, IPC, Professor of Law, retired Former commissioner, Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1991–1996)
“A timely tome. So much of Native Canadian history has been swept under the rug by mainstream historians. Fortunately, books like this, written by Native authors themselves, are finally coming out of the closet, so to speak. And the timing couldn’t be better. Our country so needs these books. Our country so needs these voices.”
“By beginning to unveil some painful truths in Canada’s ‘hidden history,’ Chief Bev Sellars provides context and deep understanding that remain at the root of the troubled relationship between Canada and Aboriginal peoples. Some individuals will find these stories troubling, but as painful as these stories are, they must be told if we are to ever have reconciliation and understanding between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.”
—Mary Simon, co-chair, Canadians for a New Partnership, former Canadian ambassador, and president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami One
“Reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada will advance only when non-Aboriginal Canadians learn, accept, remember, and respect Aboriginal perspectives and interpretations of our shared past and future. Bev Sellars’s powerful truth-telling about the cost to Aboriginal peoples of our history is essential reading for all Canadians.”
—Phyllis Senese, Professor Emerita of History, University of Victoria
“Sellars uses a broad brush with personal detail here and there to help readers understand Aboriginal issues in Canada today … a good primer.”
—Chris Arnetttt, author of The Terror of the Coast: Land Alienation and Colonial War on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, 1849–1863
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