Alfred John Scow, CM, OBC, LLB’61, LLD’97
April 10, 1927 – February 26, 2013. The Honourable Alfred J. Scow was born April 10, 1927, in Alert Bay, BC, to Chief William and Alice Scow of the Kwicksutaineuk Nation. Although born at a time when Aboriginals were prohibited from entering the legal profession, he went on to become the first Aboriginal person to graduate from a BC Law School, the first Aboriginal lawyer in BC to be called to the Bar and the first to be appointed as a legally trained judge in the Province.
Prior to becoming a judge, he was city prosecutor for New Westminster, chair of the board of review for the Workmen’s Compensation Board, and completed a two-year assignment to Guyana on the Amerindian Lands Commission fact-finding committee. After leaving the Provincial Court, Mr. Scow’s roles included work on behalf of the Musqueam, Fraser Valley and Penticton Indian bands.
Mr. Scow volunteered his leadership to many community organizations including UBC, where he helped guide the establishment of First Nations studies. He served on the university’s Senate, the President’s Advisory Committee, the Faculty of Law First Nations Advisory Committee, and the Alumni Association board. He was a founding member of the Elders Committee for the First Nations House of Learning.
In 2001, he founded The Scow Institute, which works to promote a greater understanding between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people regarding issues affecting all Canadians. He contributed to his community through volunteer board work for the John Howard Society, United Good Neighbour Fund and Credit Union, BC Lions Society for Children with Disabilities, Aboriginal Justice Centre, Pacific Salmon Foundation, YVR Art Foundation, and the Institute of Indigenous Government. In 2012, Mr. Scow was awarded the UBC Alumni Association’s Blythe Eagles Volunteer Leadership Award for his outstanding volunteer contributions.
He is survived by his loving family – his wife of 49 years, Joan; brothers Peter, Henry, and Glen; sisters, Beatrice, Winnie Speck, Irene Bertelsen, and Karen Adams; and many nephews, nieces and extended family. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society.