Kwikwetlem First Nation is mourning the death of one of its councillors, who was originally declared a missing person last seen in the Pitt Meadows area, before being found dead in Mission on Tuesday, Aug. 15.
Kwikwetlem Chief Ron Giesbrecht said that Stephanie Patterson had only recently joined the band’s council for what was supposed to be a four-year term starting April 1, 2023.
Her role was as head of the Community Services Division, which the council said covered a wide range of areas, including housing, health, education, careers, culture, language, and much more.
“Stephanie was a keen learner and was excited about embarking in her new role as an elected councillor of the nation,” said Chief Giesbrecht. “She was passionate about helping all members of our community – our children, youth, adults, and elders – and improving community participation and engagement to help create a vibrant and self-governing nation.”
“Stephanie’s vision for the future was to create greater cultural knowledge and economic prosperity for the people of Kwikwetlem First Nation and she will be deeply missed by the Kwikwetlem leadership and to all who knew her.”
As a child, Patterson was a victim of the ’60s movement that saw many Indigenous children being forcibly removed from their birth families and sent to live in foster homes.
“Her past created a resilient and dedicated spirit which she brought to her role as a councillor and to her family and to her community,” said the Kwikwetlem First Nation press release.
Before being elected as a councillor, Patterson had spent much of her life as a member of the Musqueam First Nation. After marrying Kwikwetlem First Nation member David Hall, Patterson transferred her band membership to join her husband, with whom she had three children.
Hall was arrested on Aug. 15 in connection to the murder of Patterson, after her body was recovered in a rural part of Mission.
Kwikwetlem First Nation declined to provide additional comments on Hall’s arrest and is requesting privacy as the community grieves the loss of Patterson.
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