Providing Indigenous Knowledge, Chunih was born into the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation (formerly known as Fraser Lake Indian Band) in central British Columbia (BC), about 180 kilometers west of Prince George BC. He was born into the Lhtsehyoo clan (frog clan) of the Yinka Dene people (Carrier), and was one of the last people who was taught by the Uzah’neh (Hereditary Chiefs).
Growing up, he attended a residential day school operated by the Oblates of St. Joseph in Vanderhoof BC. He also was one of the first Aboriginal student to attend the public school in Vanderhoof and Fraser Lake BC where he completed grade 10. In 1988, Chunih was elected as councilor for the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation Chief for two consecutive terms and was elected Chief a position that was held for 26 years. As an elected Chief, Chunih was one of the seven Chiefs that make up the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council.
Chunih also assisted in the growth of many local Aboriginal institutions such as Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment & Training Assn., Carrier Sekani Family Services, Prince George Friendship Centre, Aboriginal Business and Community Development Centre, Yinka Dene Language Institute, the corporate structure of the Nadleh Whut’en Band, as well as many others.
Chunih is currently one of the Hereditary Chiefs of the Nadleh Whut’en community. The primary role of the Hereditary Chiefs is the protection of the environment and humanity within the Yinka Dene territorial communities; including all municipalities. Hereditary Chiefs are also responsible for the economic development of the Nations, as it relates to natural resources and lands & trust. Hereditary Chief Martin Louie is widely known and respected across BC as a champion of the environment, economies and health for BC’s Aboriginal Communities. His strength lies in his Yinka Dene inherent knowledge and understanding of the delicate balance between economic development, the safety and well-being of the environment, and the benefits to all First Nations.