Edward R. Johnson (ƛicitatḥ) is currently in his first term as a member Executive Council for Huu-ay-aht First Nations, a modern treaty nation located on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
Edward’s father is Master Carver Ed Johnson Sr., son of Ralph and Ethel Johnson. His mother is Donna (Shaw) Knighton of Ditidaht First Nations, daughter of Joe and Sophia (Dennis) Shaw. He is married to Janice Johnson, and they have four children – Jeffery, Kae-Lynn, Edward, and Isaak Johnson.
As a young man, Edward saw both his grandfather Ralph and his father serve as Huu-ay-aht councillors. They taught him to lead using the Nation’s values and the importance of representing the interests of the entire community.
Prior to being elected, he took these teaching to work with him. Edward has served his Nation most of his life. He worked for Huu-ay-aht in watershed restoration, forestry, on the West Coast Trail, public works, carving projects, program manager and assistant to the executive director, and most recently with youth, culture, and wellness. This experience has given him an understanding of the importance of being Huu-ay-aht and extensive understanding about the government structure and day-to-day operations.
Edward waited to run for council until he believed he was ready to represent his Nation and every citizen with an open and honest heart. Edward holds the Citizenship and Citizen Development portfolio, as well as the Health and Education, Language, and Culture portfolios. His work experience with the Nation, particularly his role working on culture and wellness, gave him and understanding of the power of culture and the role it can play in healing the intergenerational traumas that many Huu-ay-aht citizens face today. He believes the Nation’s sacred principles of ʔiisaak (Utmost Respect), ʔuuʔałuk (Taking Care of), and Hišuk ma c̕awak (Everything is One) are woven into the work that is being done to help communities deal with addiction and other related issues.
Edward has had a strong connection to his culture that started in his 20s. Now he sees that part of his portfolio as key to healing communities, respecting the land and resources, and helping to build a healthy economy. He follows the teaching of his ancestors as he works to improve the lives of all Huu-ay-aht citizens.
Edward believes there is no finish line, but he hopes that the work that is being done by the Nation will improve the lives of citizens. This will ultimately lead to a thriving community in the homelands, where people will want to live for many generations to come.