Lessons from Chief Louie

I had the pleasure of listening to Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Indian Band speak on September 12 at the Rockwood Centre in Sechelt. Chief Louie’s visit was part of the “pro-voc-a-talks” series that the Coast Community Builders Association has initiated to encourage “exploring points of view”.

The Osoyoos Indian Band, under the leadership of Chief Louie, have one of the most successful business plans for a First Nation in all of North America.  They have established their own business development corporation and are a major economic player in the Okanagan.

Here are a few of the great takeaways from the Chief’s talk.

  • You can tell a leader by how they spend their time.
    • watch what a leader focuses on during their day.   Are they spending their time on useless tasks; are they working hard, side by side with their team?
  • Side by side, not dependent
    • When the Osoyoos Indian band signed an agreement with the province, they presented a token to the government to symbolize the new relationship.   The token had two parallel lines.  The parallel lines symbolized the new relationship – side by side, equal, not dependent on the other.  Chief Louie said that if you expect others to support you, you must support them.  He regularly encourages their golfing members to use the other courses in the area, to gas up at the station across town.
  • Move from a culture of entitlement to a culture of performance.
    • There is too much of a sense of entitlement in society today.  You should not expect to have things handed to you.   We need to move to expecting performance from each other.
  • The economic horse pulls the social cart
    • If you want to increase the programs you have to support your community, it’s necessary to improve the economy within it first.  This ensures that you have the financial resources available.  The better the economy is performing, the more you will be able to provide for your community.
  • Success is a study
    • “Go to school” on things that you want to know more about.   This is how the  Band learned about wineries, golfing and how to run succesful businesses within their community.
  • Anytime you have the chance, take a millionaire out for lunch. And pay for it.
    • Use the time with them to ask them questions about the lessons they’ve learned.  Learn from them.
  • Don’t wait for Perfect.
    • Perfect will never happen.  If you wait for perfect, you will be waiting forever.
  • There are no guarantees
    • In the end, there is no guarantee.  Weigh the pluses and minuses and make your decision based on the best information that you have.

At the end of Chief Louie’s talk, he left us with the following:

“You brought us whiskey during the Fur Trade; we’ll get you to sign our land back through NK’MIP first class wine.”

 

To learn more about Chief Clarence Louie and Osoyoos Indian Band, check out the band’s website at http://oibdc.ca/

More information about the CCBA and their initiatives can be found at http://coastbuilders.ca/

 

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