It is with sadness that we share the passing of Lillian Howard, an Elder who shared so much of herself and her wisdom with PHSA, on Oct. 30, 2021.
A member of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation and of Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka’wakw and Tlingit ancestry, Lillian was a strong advocate for Indigenous people. As part of PHSA’s Indigenous Health team, Lillian supported our organization with a generous spirit—sharing her gifts of time and knowledge. She was committed to educating PHSA staff and leaders about Indigenous peoples, their way of being and their experience to support our work around Indigenous cultural safety and humility. In addition to attending many meetings as an Elder, Lillian was also instrumental in the development and ongoing work with the San’yas program
, and recently led the board of directors through an Indigenous Learning Day.
“Lillian was an outstanding community leader who truly wanted to help others,” says PHSA board chair Tim Manning. “Her dedication to helping educate PHSA employees and the members of the board about the history of Indigenous people and advancing cultural safety and humility is a legacy for which we are truly grateful. She enriched all of our lives.”
Lillian was loving, warm and supportive. She was a fierce advocate for eradicating racism in health care and contributed her passion to other organizations in the community including the City of Vancouver
and the Vancouver Police Department. Lillian was also the founder of the Uplifting Indigenous Families Fund
, which raises funds to assist families during and after the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with Lillian’s family and loved ones. As an Elder who supported PHSA, our programs, board and executive team, the loss of Lillian will be felt deeply across our organization and the many communities she served.