Leonard Marchand

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Leonard Stephen Marchand, PC, CM (born November 16, 1933) is a former Canadian politician. He was the first person of First Nations ethnicity to serve in the federal cabinet, and was the first Status Indian to serve as a Member of Parliament.

Marchand was born in Vernon, British Columbia as a member of the Okanagan Indian Band. An agronomist by training, he left his profession in the mid-1960s to work with the North American Indian Brotherhood. His work in native affairs took him to Ottawa to lobby on aboriginal issues, and he was hired as a special assistant to two successive Cabinet ministers.

He entered politics and was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in the 1968 election as a Liberal Party candidate for the British Columbia riding of Kamloops-Cariboo. He defeated high-profile Progressive Conservative candidate E. Davie Fulton.

He became parliamentary secretary to Jean Chr├ętien, who was the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and persuaded Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to begin land settlement negotiations between the federal government and the First Nations.

In 1976, Marchand was appointed to the Cabinet as Minister of State for small business. In 1977,...
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