Last weekend, Chief Jason Louie of the Lower Kootenay Yaqan Nukiy Band had the honor of welcoming Chief Clarence Louie and his delegation from the Osoyoos Indian Band.
Clarence Louie has been the Chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band for over 30 years and is passionate about economic development opportunities for the Osoyoos Indian Band. âIt’s rare, but it’s good to see bands doing business off the reserve. This is what must happen in the future for more groups. More and more, this is happening across the country â
The Osoyoos Indian Band has grown exponentially over the past 30 years, providing Osoyoos with agricultural, commercial and industrial leases on reserve lands. âThere is even a rented provincial jail on reserve land that provides jobs for band members and non-natives in the area. We have many non-natives who currently work and live on reserve lands. They rent and build million dollar houses. said Chief Clarence Louie.
The Osoyoos Group has diversified its business portfolio to include wineries, golf courses, gas stations and resorts. Their full portfolio of activities can be viewed on the Osoyoos Indian Band Development Corporation website www.oibdc.ca.
âOnce I learned that the Yaqan Nukiy Group had purchased Ainsworth Hot Springs, I had to meet Chef Jason Louie and visit Ainsworth. It is important for our leaders to sit down and share our history and knowledge so that we can help each other develop our economic development for our people. said the chief of the Osoyoos band.
Two years ago, the Yaqan Nukiy group bought Ainsworth Hotsprings from an elderly couple who were looking to retire.
âIt was about being in the right place at the right time,â said Chef Jason Louie. âIt was hard work but it was worth it. Our aim is to bring an indigenous brand to Ainsworth Hotsprings, in particular a Yaqan Nukiy presence, to assert our sovereignty in our part of the territory. We want to give guests a different and unique experience that you can’t get anywhere else, âsaid Chef Jason Louie. âIn the coming days, there will be informal discussions on various topics, a visit to Ainsworth Hot Springs and a traditional hunt here in Creston, in the land of Yaqan Nukiy. The visit from Chief Clarence Louie is enormous. In First Nations politics, Chief Clarence is respected and well known. His name and his work speak for themselves. He has been doing this for a long time and is very successful.
Chief Clarence Louie strongly believes that First Nations people need to focus on their integration into the economy as a whole. âOnce you start creating jobs and making your own money, there is a lot more you can do. Before the reserve system, our people only dealt with each other. We now have the chance to do business across Canada with everyone. This is what I like to see. That’s the reason I’m here. “
Chief Clarence Louie has a bumper sticker on his truck that he bought from retired First Nations hockey player Gino Odjick which says âAboriginal people have always worked for a livingâ. He smiles when people show the bumper sticker. Proudly mentioning: “It is true that we did it”.